# 113 - To Die For

Freitag, 14.02.2020

It's the 14th of February.
You all know what this means.
Happy James Cook Death Day everyone!!!

I am currently writing a secondary source review for my module 'World Traditions of Knowledge Transmissions'.
That module title does sounds like it would be interesting, doesn't it?
Spoiler: It is not.
Don't get me wrong, it's not terrible. It's just ... bizarre.

Writing a detailed secondary source review is difficult enough for one chapter or article on a specialist subject, let alone a book. Last semester, we had to produce a secondary source review for my module on the Scottish Highlands in the early modern period.
This encompasses a close analysis of the arguments, examining the wider historiography, finding out how the article/chapter has been reviewed before and whether it has caused a shift in scholarly paradigm.
Difficult, but doable.
And (weirdly enough) even enjoyable.

Now, the book (yes, book - not chapter, not article - book!) I am reviewing is called 'The Language of the Heart, 1600-1750'.
And I am to review its argument in 1.500 words.
So, I spend my days reading all about how the trope of the heart is represented in Milton's Paradise Lost, Richardson's Clarissa and the Bible.
Fun Fact: the third chapter, on Eve's heart and Paradise Lost, is basically an examination of Satan's sex life and how Satanic sex is opposed to angelic sexual union and unfallen human sex. In this, Satan is described as a 'perverse, demonic seventeenth-century anatomist'.
Not necessarily the description I would have gone for, but sure!

 

Pink lemonade sipping on a Sunday
Couples holding hands on a runway
They're all posing in a picture frame whilst my world's crashing down
Solo shadow on a sidewalk
Just want somebody to die for

To Die For - Sam Smith

# 112 - A Thousand Times Good Night

Donnerstag, 28.11.2019

'A Thousand Times Good Night' was inspired by Abel Korzeniowski's masterpiece of the same name.
You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5avN2fhvEQ.

 

A Thousand Times Good Night

- I remember

   The day you were born
On an April morning
It was the day I learned that you can love
So deeply that it tears your heart apart

   The day you learned to walk
An afternoon in May
Your first steps and a smile on your face
So bright that the sun rose a second time that day

   The day you fell off the swing
In your grandmother's backyard
The scratches on your knee
But for a second you thought you could fly

   The day you sat on the quay wall
A July day too hot
But the wind in your hair made you laugh
And you counted the seagulls over the water

   The day you climbed the old cherry tree
To learn how birds see the world
You looked down upon us
From a branch so high that you thought you could touch the sun

   The day you first visited a graveyard
A warm Thursday in September
The trees just started to lose their crown
But you smiled and said that you liked how peaceful it was

   I remember the day they told us 
That your heart was not made
To last all your life
And that this Christmas would be your last

   The day the pond froze over
For the first time in years
You were wearing red rubber boots
And your bell-like laughter filled the air

   The day we put up fairy lights
In the apple trees
You danced around under a starry sky
And asked me to tell you a fairy-tale with your name

   The day you got too tired to walk
And so we carried you
Through a cold January evening
Back home where you fell asleep at the kitchen table

   I remember the last night I told you
Your favourite bedtime story
Where the heroine flies with the birds
Without ever falling down

   I waited until you were fast asleep
Gave you a kiss on the forehead
And wished you
A thousand times good night

28.11.2019

# 111 - Leaving My Love Behind

Mittwoch, 20.11.2019

I am currently working on my second essay on James Cook and his work on how to prevent scurvy amongst his crew while travelling.
Personally, I find it very interesting although most people give me somewhat bewildered looks whenever I bring it up.
"So, what are you working on?"
"Scurvy!"
"... riiiiiight ..."

Also, I cannot deny that I feel somewhat guilty and even impious whenever I take a sip of the hot lemon water I tend to drink while writing.
Lemon water ...
Scurvy ...

It just feels mean.

 

On Tuesday, I submitted my essay on 16th century Scotland; two days later, I handed in my essay on the Vikings.
Now Cook and scurvy are all that I have left for this semester.

And then ... who knows?
I have a funding application to write, jobs to apply for, friends to meet ...

It will be okay.

 

"I know you care about me, but I also know you don't care enough. I don't know which one is worse."

 

So, I was just wondering
Could you tell me, is it all a waste of time?
Are you leaving my love behind?
Baby, say the word and let me know
You gotta give me something
I swear that I won't try to change your mind
If you're leaving my love behind
Baby, say the word and let me go

Leaving My Love Behind - Lewis Capaldi

# 110 - Snake Eyes

Dienstag, 12.11.2019

Love Me Again

How many times have I looked at you and thought that you are all I want?
That I want to feel your hand on my thigh, your lips on my neck, your skin against mine.
That I want your morning voice and your muffled laughter.
Your deprecating stare when it rains and I walk next to you without an umbrella after refusing to join you under yours.
Your almost smile.

But how many times have I also looked at you only to think that I can't take this anymore?
That one day I will get up in the morning and leave your flat after giving you a kiss on the cheek, a kiss you don't know will be our last. I will get on a train that takes me up north to the shore and to the water you always hated. To a city made of diamonds.

Because sometimes all the things you love in someone are simply not enough.

I still want to feel your hands on my body - but I shrink away from your touch.
I still want to hear your voice in the morning - but I listen to the rattling of the coffee maker instead, and pray that you stay under the shower for a little longer, just until it's time for me to leave.
I still walk without an umbrella - but how would you know?
I still want to see you smile.
I still want you to love me.

But not like this.
Not like this.

12.11.2019

 

And the stakes remain too high
For this silent mind
And this shake, the lonely itch
That courses down my spine
To leave a love divine
Don't leave a love divine
It's a watertight excuse

Snake Eyes - Mumford and Sons

 

# 109 - The Jars In Your Fridge

Mittwoch, 23.10.2019

The Jars In Your Fridge

I believe the moment you become an adult is not on your eighteenth or your twenty-first birthday. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t happen on any birthday. Instead, it is the moment you open your own fridge and see little bottles and tiny jars on the top shelf of the fridge-door, pastes in metal tubes and last night’s dinner in Tupperware boxes. This is the moment you become an adult; not when you buy all these ingredients, but when you finally see them in their entity. This is when you realise that you have grown up.

Don’t you remember how you used to see a similar collection in your parents’ fridge when you were a child? I can guarantee you it was there. Oyster sauce in a small tinted bottle and capers in a jar that was never emptied and never disappeared. Maybe it’s still there, the capers floating in water and vinegar. Do you remember that you once set out to try the oyster sauce? Do you remember pouring it on a tablespoon, the dark gleaming of this unknown substance in the kitchen light?

Or do you remember putting a piece of the green paste from one of the metal tubes in your mouth? Do you remember the burning on your tongue, the tears streaming down your face? Do you remember thinking why your parents would have this in their fridge? God, how it burned.

Open your fridge now.

Count the number of half-emptied bottles and jars, look at the back of the fridge and check the top-shelf, see what’s still there. Do you remember buying the jar of tahini? Do you remember calling you mum that night and asking her for that one recipe you could never figure out? She gave you a list of ingredients and for one reason or another tahini was on it. And however often you follow the recipe, however often you cook what your momma used to cook, the jar is still there and is still not empty. The next time you move flats it will move with you, I promise.

And what about the tamarind paste? You still don’t know what it tastes like, but you know that you need it for that one Asian soup with ginger and garlic and bok choi you love. Open the glass now and smell it, just smell. It doesn’t smell anything like the soup and yet you know that it is the secret ingredient that gives your soup the warm and soothing taste that reminds you of home.

What about the other bottles and jars, what about the filled Tupperware boxes with leftovers from last night? Do you eat them when you come home from work or do you take them with you? Do you do both? Do you ever prepare two different meals at night, one for now and one for tomorrow when you have that long day at work? When did you last eat from the jar of olives that sits at the back of the fridge, when did you last open the glass of sundried tomatoes and impale one of them with your fork, watching the oil drip off?

Do you ever come here when you can’t sleep at night, just opening the fridge and looking for - what? 

Why do we open the fridge when we can’t sleep at night?

Is it because we’re hungry?

Is it because eating signals to our body that we are safe, that we are not on the run, that we can go back to sleep because no one is chasing us? If it’s safe enough to eat, then surely it is safe enough to sleep.
Is it maybe because all the bottles and jars, the boxes and metal tubes remind us of our parents’ homes? Are we looking to find our childhood in our own fridge?

The moment you become an adult is when you become aware of all the bottles and jars.

Or maybe it is when you find that there are more than four spices in line on your kitchen counter, that there is more than just sunflower oil in your kitchen cupboard. You collect all these jars and bottles and glasses over weeks and months, over years and years.

Maybe collecting them means that we feel safe enough to build a home for ourselves.

Maybe home is the place where we feel safe enough to put jars of mango chutney and coconut oil, garam masala and cinnamon sticks, bottles of apple cider vinegar and sweet and sour sauce, tubes of red pepper puree and Tupperware boxes with rice and chicken.

Maybe this is what being an adult is about, about building a home and collecting jars in a fridge.

(19.05.2019)

# 108 - All The Good Girls Go To Hell

Freitag, 06.09.2019

 

01.09.2019
I am the colour of moonstone, of silver linings and silvery dreams - shattered, splintered, broken. Where you touch me it burns, burns, burns. With every cut you make I bleed silver, liquid silver against night skies.

02.09.2019
I am the colour of bloodshot eyes wide open, of velvety wine spilled on the floor. I am suffocating, I am drowning.



'Kat, you looked like you killed someone'
                                                I know.

 

All the good girls go to hell
'Cause even God herself has enemies
And once the water starts to rise
And Heaven's out of sight
She'll want the Devil on her team

All The Good Girls Go To Hell - Billie Eilish

 

# 107 - 90 Days

Donnerstag, 08.08.2019

When trying to discuss the character of Hannibal Lecter, people tend to focus on the aspect of cannibalism only.
Why is that so?

Why has this marvellous character been reduced to his eating habits above everything else?
Let us take a moment to admire Dr Lecter.

Why do we not discuss the knowledge of culture and music history Dr Lecter displays when talking about the compositions of Henry VIII? Lecter plays the Goldberg Variations almost flawlessly while living in Florence and later in the United States, which, in my opinion, is a considerable achievement in itself!
Why do we not admire his ability to adapt after losing the sixth finger on his left hand? Even after undergoing operation he is still capable of playing a piece as difficult as the Goldberg Variations.

Why do we not discuss his knowledge of biblical history and philosophy that is suggested not only when he talks to the Studiolo in Florence, but also when he writes his last letter to Clarice, talking about Samson's riddle? 
The honey in the lioness
Can you not feel the words melt on your tongue?
Il miele dentro la leonessa.
Mr Krendler may not see the beauty in this metaphor, but shouldn't we? 

Why do we not discuss Dr Lecter's knowledge of languages? He speaks at least four languages fluently and it may be suggested that he has a good understanding of basically any language with Romanic and Germanic roots - is this not worth discussing? 

Why do we not discuss his use of ancient Roman and Greek mnemonic techniques such as the mind palace to retain information or seek distraction? Is this not impressive enough?
Why do we not talk about his physical fitness? Even after years of confinement in a small cell he is capable of overpowering two trained guards in close combat.

Why do we not talk about his love for Misha, for Clarice?
The love for his sister was unconditional and he loved her effortlessly.
His love for Clarice may be more complex, but this doesn’t make it any less pure.
Dr Lecter can love.
And is this not beautiful?

I am not saying that we should ignore the cannibalistic traits of Dr Lecter. But in a world that tends to present us with antagonists that are characterised simply by being "evil” (whatever this means), Dr Lecter is intriguingly multi-facetted.

So take a moment.
Just take a moment and look behind ‘Hannibal the Cannibal’.
Let us admire Dr Lecter instead.

A friend of mine accused me of ‘humanising’ Dr Lecter. I must say that I found this interesting.
Am I humanising a monster?
Or is everyone else dehumanising a person?

Take a moment.
Just take a moment.

To quote Mark Twain:
“But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most, our one fellow and brother who most needed a friend yet had not a single one’.

 

When you're smiling, I'm the saddest
I hide my face so you don't see it
I think out loud, hope you don't hear it

90 Days - P!NK

(Those interested in Samson's metaphor may want to read this article: 
https://thebirdinthewomaninthehorse.tumblr.com/post/75980015092/some-thoughts-on-how-the-series-gets-to-the-end/amp)

# 106 - Friends

Donnerstag, 01.08.2019

 

Once upon a time, someone asked me to rate my day on a scale from 1-10.
But despite my parents' heritage I am not good with number. Letters, yes, but numbers? Numbers are radical, numbers are as close to rational and objective as one can get when talking about feelings and 'how are you feeling?'s. And I never liked that. 

So I write my days in colour now.

19.07.2019
I am forest-green. I can feel the wind in pine trees, soft, soothing. My branches reach as to touch the arms of my brothers and sisters, but there is nothing but silence.

23.07.2019
I am scarlett, my lungs are filled with flowers that are three days from blossoming. I am the colour of Robin Hood.

30.07.2019
I am warm copper. My colours melt in the sun, liquid gold in honeyed brown.

31.07.2019
I am the colour of whispering brick dust. I am barely breathing.

01.08.2019
I am translucent. There is nothing to say. I should have been quiet, it was not my place to ask. I'm sorry.

 

 

We're not friends, we could be anything.
If we try to keep those secrets safe.
No one will find out if it all went wrong.
They'll never know what we've been through.

Friends - Ed Sheeran

# 105 - Burn The Witch

Sonntag, 16.12.2018

Today is an anxiety day.
I shake and feel overwhelmed, I don't want to go.

There is someone I want to talk to, someone I trust. But he is gone, I won't see him for the next three weeks until I'm back in Scotland. Also, he's busy and I don't want to steal his time more than necessary.

I don't want to go.
I don't want to go to Germany.
I don't want to see my parents, I don't want to talk and defend myself.
I don't want to explain my anxiety problems, I don't want to have to justify myself for my illness.
I don't want to go.

Today, I was on the phone with my mother while starting to pack stuff. She told me what would happen on the first and second day of Christmas, about all the people who would come to the house, about all the people we would meet at my uncle's house and later on at my grandma's.
And I started shaking, I couldn't breathe, I still can't breathe, how do people breathe?
So many people, so many people I barely know and don't trust, so many people who will judge my decisions and my life, who will ask if I'm finally have a relationship in that weird city where I study - where was it again? -, what it is that I'm doing in my job - IT? But you don't know anything about that, your brother is the IT person of the family ... - and what I want to do with my life anyway because people studying history usually end up on the streets.

Why am I going to Germany?
I want the semester to continue for a bit longer, I want to spend time with my friends.
Especially those who barely have time but make me feel so alive, those who are excited about their studies just as I am, those who make fun of me for being a little awkward and keep me around anyway.

It's just a bad day, not a bad life.
But sometimes the bad days seem to take over; sometimes I can't see what used to make me laugh. This is the problem with anxiety: you forget what used to make you happy, nothing is left but the void inside.
And I feel bad burdening those I care about with my problems, with my bad days, with the anxiety days where I can't focus, where I can't breathe and feel like drowning.

I found something I quite like, it's called 'Having Anxiety in Relationships'.
This is not just about romantic relationships, this is also what it's like being friends with people who have anxiety.

Having Anxiety in Relationships..
     is double checking messages to make sure you read them right.
     getting jealous easily.
     Fear of not being good enough.
     Fear of being annoying.
     Fear of being un-attached.
     Fear of being too clingy.
     Worrying so much you lose sleep.
     Having nightmares of losing them.
     Needing a constant reminder that they love you and are going to stay.
     Tight hand holding.
     Cuddles.
     Personal Space.

Not everything of the above applies to everyone, not everything applies to me.
Easy example: I don't get jealous. Honestly, if you want to meet up with another friend or have prior commitments, that's fine. If you need to stay at work late because there are still a thousand things you have to sort, that's fine. If you are stuck in another city and the only person you can stay at for the night is your ex, well, that's fine too.
I trust you.
This is how my anxiety works.

I am terribly afraid of losing those I love. Because in the past, those who should have been there for me have disappeared, those who should have protected me have hurt me more than anyone else.
I am afraid that one day you will look at me and all of the sudden realise that you don't love me anymore.
I am afraid that one day you will be done dealing with me and my demons.
I am afraid.

Talk to me.
Don't laugh if I ask you for a hug - for me, this is a big step.
Don't make fun of me for overthinking or being worried.
I care.
I care a lot.

 

The flames lick at my feet
Their hearts full of hate
What they don't understand, they condemn
What they can't comprehend must meet its end

Burn The Witch - Shawn James

# 104 - Autumn

Sonntag, 25.11.2018

I know I owe you a full update, I know I haven't written in a long while.

It's just that I'm really busy with my studies, work, meetings for the department, my non-existent social life (aka trying to figure out whether I should ask someone out or not, really difficult, I can tell you!) and so on.

But I just wanted to share a tiny little moment with you, just this.
I'm sitting on ground floor right now, working on a portfolio for journalism which is due in three days (ah fuck, just three days, I'm screwed!)
...
Anyway!
That girl just walked past, I only noticed her because she's wearing a Hogwarts-jumper and I quite liked it. She got up half a minute ago, now she just came back from the table with the hole-punchers and staplers to sit down with her friends again.
Apparently, she just went to try out the electronic stapler, I heard the sound while trying to focus on that interview I'm writing.
Now she came back. And good lord, she's so excited!
I'm assuming that this was the first time she used the electronic stapler, where you just push the papers you want stapled in and the stapler, well, staples them for you.
I know it sounds boring, but people get excited over it all the time!

So she came back and pointed at her papers, now neatly stapled, and she looked so genuinely excited and happy about it. And her face said 'Look, this is so cool, look!'

I love these moment, these tiny moments when people get excited over the smallest things in the world. Isn't it beautiful?

 

 

Autumn

Wearing a coat of gold, Autumn enters the streets of Scotland. He is a tall man, a God of destruction and change, his rule is that of passing and rebirth. Where he goes the world changes to red and orange; to blazing colours in the wind and the smell of cinnamon and berries; to dying leaves and mist over water. Following him are his loyal beasts, bringing storm and frost, rain and thunder over the land, ever-panting dogs, close to their master. He commands and the beasts obey, anticipating every order, every word from his lips. He sends them away, sends them to hunt and grey fur becomes one with the colour of the changing skies as they run off.
Autumn walks the shores and wanders the forests with steady steps, he roams market streets and cornfields in search of the girl he loves. It’s a game they play, a never-ending game of hide and seek, she runs from him, knowing that she can never run far enough, while he keeps walking at a steady pace. He has no need to rush. And while he longs to see her, to kiss her skin, he is also afraid of finding her, of catching up, of meeting her again.
She is like a young bird, a kitten, a fawn – ingenuous, naïve, so pure that it almost breaks his heart. This is her game, a childish game, but he gladly plays it with her if this is what makes her laugh and dance and sing. How could he not?
Autumn walks the countryside and searches the city, and every once in a while, he is re-joined by one of the beasts when they have picked up a trail, when they need to be in his company for a while or when he grows tired of being alone. And in every city he asks for her, he looks out for her in the parks and in the beer gardens, at the duck ponds and on the swings, in the ice cream parlours and by the riverside where the children play.
He searches for his lover, patiently waiting for the dogs to pick up a new trail, leading him up to the islands or down to the borders. Until one day he finds her standing on a busy street; in the depths of some forest; in the middle of a crowd in a concert hall. One hand at her chest and a smile still on her lips, that smile that makes his heart race and his skin burn. She smiles although she is dying and she knows it, they both do. And now he runs, he runs to catch her before she falls, he keeps her safe while she fights to stay in this world for a little longer, to stay by his side. And she gasps for air, she digs her fingernails into the palm of her hand, trying to blend out the pain of her struggling heart, while he fondles her hair, whispers loving words into her ear and wipes the tears off her face.
It has been like this since the beginning of time, always the same.
She fights for her life while all he can do is hold her and tell her how much he loves her, how much he has missed her. He wraps her in his coat of gold to keep her warm and safe and she smiles, she is so tired but he begs her to stay awake only for a little longer, for him, please, stay awake, I love you, I love you so much, I missed you. And she laughs and he can hear how difficult it is for her to breathe now, how much she hurts, how hard she has to fight for air.
And so he lets her go.
Summer smiles, her head rests on his chest, the sound of his beating heart singing her to sleep.

Wearing a coat of gold, Autumn stands on the streets of Scotland. He is a tall man, a God of destruction and change, his rule is that of passing and rebirth. Around him the world has transformed, a paradise of red and gold, a tribute to his lover, the love of his eternal life.
He misses her.
And as Winter arrives, a grey old man with kind eyes, Autumn gladly steps back into the shadows, to wait for the game to start again. 

(04.11.2018)