That person

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I never thought I’d be that person who wakes up early and does fitness exercises.
I never thought I’d be that person who meditates every day.
I never thought I’d be that person who spends a lot of time in nature.
I never thought I’d be that person who goes to festivals.
I never thought I’d be that person who cultivates many good friendships.
I never thought I’d be that person who travels to another continent to see a band.
I never thought I’d be that person who surrounds themselves with plants.
I never thought I’d be that person who skateboards.
I  never thought I’d be that person who improves their singing voice.
I never thought I’d be that person who says ‘yes’ to all tempting invitations.
I never thought I’d be that person who goes out dancing and stays until the end of the party.
I never thought I’d be that person who dates casually.
I never thought I’d be that person who goes to the beach on their own.
I never thought I’d be that person who fills up a whole sketchbook.
I never thought I’d be that person who travels with only a small backpack.
I never thought I’d be that person who works in an office, and actually enjoys the work.
I never thought I’d be that person who builds up a business on the side.
I never thought I’d be that person who often surprises themselves.
I never thought I’d be that person who happily embraces change and the possibility for growth.
I never thought I’d be that person who sees this as essential for living a good, full life.

Yet here I am, reveling in every minute of it.

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Kickstart My Heart – The Influence of the Music in Our Lives

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I’ve had a realisation last year. A realisation that I keep having lately. It’s about the music, and media in general, we consume and how it influences our mood. I have already written a blog post about my experience, but it felt necessary to revisit.

Over the past few months I have almost exclusively been listening to music that makes me feel good. As much as I love my angst-ridden metalcore, nihilistic doom metal and gloomy goth music, I know that it’s not particularly helpful to listen to on a daily basis. Continually listening to negative music inevitably leads to dwelling on things that make me unhappy. There is a time and place for it and that time and place is not every day.

Instead of Bring Me the Horizon I’ve been listening to Four Year Strong, instead of Cult of Luna I’ve been listening to Mötley Crüe, instead of Lana del Rey I’ve been listening to Elvis, all the pop punk, and so on. Of course I’ve still been listening to Every Time I Die, but more their newer, more positive music, rather than say, Ex-Lives.

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These little tweaks have made a huge difference in my life. It’s so simple and so effective. The simplicity and the effectiveness still baffle me. I’ve been singing and dancing through my apartment all day. I’ve been a lot more motivated to do things. I’ve been more creative. I’ve been more social. I’ve gradually been watching less series that don’t directly add to my sense of wellbeing; instead of horror or drama series I’ve been drawn more to stand-up comedy, documentaries about nature or inspiring people, and magical girl anime shows (of which singing along to the theme songs is an absolute necessity). I’ve also been reading more non-fiction books about spirituality and people who fascinate me. These other media have been enriching my life in turn.

This is just scratching the surface. So many positive experiences stem from putting on upbeat music as early as possible in the day. Once you’re in that positive place, so many more positive things will start happening. And then I think of my mom and how she turns on her radio first thing in the morning and cheerfully sings along. She’s been doing this for as long as I can remember. I used to find it insufferable, but now it’s like Mom! All along you knew this secret to happiness and you didn’t tell me!*

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Well, my friend, I’m here to let you in on this secret. There are a lot of things that I’ve been doing over the past few months to consciously get into a positive mindset (or into THE VORTEX as Gala Darling and Abraham-Hicks call it) and listening to uplifting music as much as possible is unquestionably one of the most powerful. And unlike I used to think, uplifting music doesn’t have to mean only modern radio pop. There is so much uplifting music in alternative genres: pop punk, punk rock, horror punk, glam metal, glam rock, ebm,  synthpop, 50s rock and roll. You just have to weed it out.

If you’re interested in the sort of music that makes me feel really good, I’ve made a playlist on Youtube (NSFW). It starts with Avril Lavigne, naturally. I’ve tried to keep it somewhat cohesive, but hey, I listen to a lot of different music.

 

I don’t know if all this is obvious to anyone else, but it was mind-blowing to me. Once you become conscious of the media you consume on a daily basis and how much it informs your experience, you can change your world.

*Then again, I probably wouldn’t have been in such a receptive mode as I am now. It’s something that I’ve had to grow towards.

My NaNoWriMo 2017 participation

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I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year. For those of you who’ve never heard of it, it’s a contest in which writers from all over the world challenge themselves to write a 50,000 draft of a novel in the month of November. I wanted to write something new and the timing of that coincided with NaNo, so here we are. If I’m not as active on my blog this month, that will be why.

Last year I made a video about the pros and cons of this contest. I think my conclusion was that it was a great initiative, but for me the cons outweighed the pros. It’s too focused on word count, which does not work well for me personally. I had to scrap over 26,000 words of vomit that resulted in my previous attempt and was left with only the idea of a novel. And yet I’m doing it again this year.

I’m more laid-back with my participation this time though. I’m not as obsessed with reaching the word goal. Sure, 50,000 words would be nice to have at the end of the month, but I’m more concerned about the time I’m investing in my writing. NaNoWriMo has a nifty new feature where you can input personal goals, which can also be hours instead of words.

I’ve challenged myself to work on my novel for 82 hours this month. That’s 3 hours a day, with some wiggle room. Those hours include both planning/outlining facets of my novel and the writing of the novel itself. So far I’ve been doing very well with my hour-goals. Only last weekend I didn’t put in as many hours as I liked, but otherwise I’ve reached or surpassed the 3 hours a day. I’m behind on the general word goal, but I don’t care as much as I usually do.

I’m writing a new novel. Something brimming with a lot more promise than previous things I’ve written. I’m working on it every day. It’s taking concrete shape. This is how NaNoWriMo can be immensely valuable. Bend the rules, personalise it to fit your own goals and watch the magic unfold.

Lessons learned in a clothing distribution centre

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For the past five months I worked full-time in a clothing distribution centre of a fairly big Dutch clothing brand. I packaged orders at the webshop, threw products onto a conveyor belt, unpacked and put products in storage, etc. It wasn’t my first choice of jobs, but, you know, writers also have bills to pay.

I learned a lot from my experience there though. Here are some of the things I took away from it:

  • ANY job is better than no job. Even if all you do is sticker price tags all day, it’s still better than sitting at home useless and parasitically living off other people.
  • Any work can be fulfilling if you’re continually learning new things and getting better at it.
  • If you have nice, fun colleagues it vastly improves your general experience. They are invaluable in this kind of repetitive work.
  • Repetitive actions, like folding and storing clothes, can be meditative and calming; they also give you an excellent opportunity to come up with solutions to problems in your creative projects.
  • Any attempt to wear cute clothes and chunky jewellery when you do physical work is futile.
  • Learn from others who have been at the job longer. Try methods that you see others use, even if it seems illogical to you. It will help you in the long run.
  • Make tasks as easy on yourself as possible. Doing something the hard way won’t impress anyone.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask men for help for something that requires physical strength. You may think you’re strong and tough and can totally do all the things the boys can, but sometimes you’ll just unnecessarily injure yourself if you lift something that’s too heavy for you.
  • A lot more clothes can fit in a box than you expect. Sometimes, you’ll think no, it’s way too much, there’s too big a pile sticking out at the top, it’ll never fit. Just close the box; it’ll fit.
  • Always wash new clothes.
  • The best way to wake up on a work morning is by putting on some cheerful music and singing along loudly. At work, cheerful music is also great to keep motivated.
  • Speaking of music, what the Dutch call fout (‘wrong’, meaning something like guilty pleasure) music is significantly more enjoyable than the modern pop shit on the radio.
  • A positive mindset improves every experience (one of those lessons that you have to learn over and over again).

Picture by Jim Killock

My #1 tool to instantly get myself into a good mood

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Lately I’ve been having a lot of bad days. Days when I feel completely unmotivated to do any of the things I have to do. From the moment my alarm goes off at the absurd hour of 4:30, I’ll be cranky. I won’t want to shower, dress in my boring jeans and shirt uniform, cycle the half hour to my shit job with the wind against me, and especially not spend the great majority of the day doing intense physical labour that does nothing to help me achieve my personal work goals.

I’ll get so frustrated before I even get out of bed. I’ll hate having obligations and so little time or energy to spend on the things I actually enjoy. I’ll hate being a slave to money and hate the whole capitalist system and hate my life in general.

When this happens, I know that I have a choice. I can choose to stay miserable and hate everything, or I can actively cheer myself up and transform my day into a nice one.

I tend to choose the latter. How I do this when it seems like there is no good in sight?

Pop punk.

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Yes, pop punk.

Specifically, the good old pop punk spawned in the 90s and early 2000s: Good Charlotte, Blink-182, Green Day, Avril Lavigne and so forth.

It sounds ridiculously easy, but for me it makes a world of difference. It’s impossible to stay in a sour mood when I hear something as fun and familiar like ‘The Anthem’ or ‘All the Small Things’. And I don’t ever wanna, I don’t ever wanna be you…

So in the morning I’ll put on my pop punk playlist at too loud a volume and inevitably sing along louder. (Both at home and while I cycle the long way. Singing while cycling makes the road infinitely more fun) Before long I’ll be happy to be alive again. Able to laugh at my misery. Completely capable of handling whatever the day will throw at me. With pop punk at my side, I’ll show up at my shit job grinning like an idiot.

Of course, I won’t want to listen to such cheerful music at first. When I’m in a sour mood I only want angry music to justify my anger. It’s always an effort to put on something that will make me happy instead. And always worth that effort a thousand times over.

Some of my favourites:

Long live pop punk!

Complacency

You know the feeling.

You think you have everything you want. You have a stable job, a stable relationship, a stable plan for your future. You go out and have fun often enough, at the same old places with the same old people. You’re comfortable and seemingly happy in your predictable life. It doesn’t even occur to you to do anything else than you’re doing right now.

Sure, you did have dreams about moving abroad and joining a band, but they have long faded into the dark corners of your mind. You still like the city where you’re currently living. You’re not that good at singing anyway. Why make any drastic changes?

You’re happy.

At least, that’s what you tell yourself.

You fail to notice how much you are limiting yourself and your experiences. You fail to notice how small your world has become. This is what’s necessary right now, this is what’s necessary right now. This is what it means to be a grown-up.

Jokes about committing suicide creep back in. Really, they’re just jokes. These are just tears of laughter.

This is starting to seem bleak and hopeless. But there is good news! You are not alone in this world. There are many people out there who refuse to settle for complacency. Unconventional, adventurous, loving, inspiring, ecstatic, encouraging, hilarious, creative, optimistic, free-spirited people. People committed to living life to its fullest. Like stars whizzing through space. And if their stardust touches you, you’ll never be the same.

My blog in 2017

To the one or two people who might still look at this blog, my apologies for not posting for so long. Between my bachelor’s thesis and another major writing project last year, I’m afraid I have completely forgotten about this blog. I mean to get more into blogging again this year.

I have just finished my study. I’m currently looking for a job. Ideally, I would like to do something with writing. “Specialist journalism” as our career officer called it. To write for something like a book or music or fashion magazine/blog. For that I would need to polish up my non-fiction writing skills. So now is the perfect time to get back into blogging!

I’m still figuring out what exactly I will post on this blog. Lifestyle and fashion related things I love writing about. I’m also trying to write more reviews about books I read, shows I go to, and other media I consume. Maybe some personal musings. We’ll see, we’ll see.

Layout and sidebar information I will overhaul at some point. The banner I have now was only supposed to be temporarily, but it’s been up for as long as I can remember. So much work ahead of me. Better get started.

2015 recap

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before we head into the new year, i thought i’d do a little recap of 2015 here. this has been a pretty big year for me. i think i have put down enough of a foundation down to make 2016 my biggest yet. so much that can, & is bound to, happen… but for now, 2015.

some goals i had for 2015 were to improve my singing, learn more about (making) music, learn to write lyrics, make more art in general, make more videos, read more & save money. i think, overall, i have done well. with a lot of hard work, my singing has greatly improved. i still wouldn’t call it ‘good’, but i have reached a point that it is not unpleasant to hear. you should know that i have no natural talent for melodic singing whatsoever. later in the year i have also been working on more aggressive vocals. i think that i am much better at that.

this year i also learned to play the guitar! something i never thought i could do. i had lessons in the first half of the year & then just kept practicing on my own, & with my brother. i also tried to learn some musical theory, but that ended up being a disaster, haha.

as for other arts, i did a bit of sewing, drawing, & painting. i ended up mostly writing. in november i spontaneously participated in nanowrimo again & succeeded in writing a novel of 50,000 words. i wrote some short stories too. & even some poems, which could also be lyrics.

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i didn’t make as many videos or read as many books as i planned, because i honestly wasn’t as interested in it as i expected to be. & my last goal of saving money…. hahahahaha. what a spectacular fail. it was an educative fail though.

but enough of the boring goal stuff. i also did a lot of fun things this past year. some of my biggest highlights were my trip to england to see frank iero & later the wgt festival in germany with one of my favourite people in the world. i went to a lot of parties & other events with people i adore. of course i also went to a lot of concerts. i saw quite a few amazing bands more than once. even sort of befriended some of them. big highlight there is every time i die, who i will see again, at least three times, next year.

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i traveled around a lot more than i had expected this year, which was fantastic. budapest, brighton, oxford, around germany & just new places in the netherlands. this year i have really come to realize how happy traveling can make me. compared to that, all the material shit that i usually spend my money on means nothing.

speaking of material shit, this year i have been put off materialism and capitalism like i never have before. while i have also become obsessed with lolita fashion. oh, the contradiction. but especially later in the year, i really have become less materialistic. while i did spend a hell of a lot of money this year, i don’t think i bought that much (compared to previous years). a major reason for this is music. i am listening to stray from the path’s black friday as i’m typing this. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve heard TOO MANY PEOPLE BUY TOO MANY THINGS THEY DON’T EVEN NEED in my head as i was contemplating some essentially useless purchase. stray from the path has been one of my biggest musical obsessions this year. along with bands like cancer bats, counterparts, letlive. & rolo tomassi. it’s like i’ve fallen in love with hardcore & hardcore-related music in general all over again. more than ever it felt like that is where i belong.

yes, this has been a good year. of course, there were also some less pleasant things, but they are so small compared to the rest. i am so grateful for the many nice experiences i’ve had & the things that i’ve learned. thank you to everyone who was a part of it!

some honourable mentions: ♥ growing my hair out & dying it green ♥ turning 25 ♥ that crazy weekend around my birthday ♥ confirming my eye surgery ♥ comic books ♥ gala darling providing endless inspiration ♥ getting back into games ♥ successfully finishing the second year of my study ♥ being secretary of my study association, with a wonderful team around me ♥ anime ♥ meeting so many fantastic new people ♥ including online friends & acquaintances ♥ wearing my same favourite clothes over & over again ♥ knitting ♥ the shows penny dreadful, vikings, & gilmore girls ♥ re-reading all the harry potter books ♥ scents ♥ the elf fantasy fair ♥ pop punk ♥ making a 2015 playlist on spotify ♥ minimalism ♥ having a decent hardcore festival in my old local town ♥ shamelessly indulging in my girliest side ♥ re-discovering old favourite things ♥ enjoying a subscription to rock sound ♥ visiting libraries for fun again ♥ wandering around new cities without any plan ♥ honesty ♥

video – the benefits of morning pages

absent for a couple of weeks & wordpress has completely changed on me again. oh well. the past november i’ve been busy with nanowrimo & the past two weeks i’ve been busy recovering from nanowrimo. but now i’m back!

i made a video again. this one is on the benefits i’ve been experiencing from writing morning pages.

hope you like it.
i’m working on a review of mockingjay part two, which should be up soon. tomorrow i’m going to a lolita tea party, which i think i will also write about. some things to look forward to 🙂

01:41

remember when you wanted to be like henry miller?
or even bukowski?
just live on the fringes
no money
no prospects
just uncertainty
adventure
& the typewriter
or the more modern equivalent of a typewriter
no material bullshit
only truth
like christopher mccandles
quoted from thoreau
remember?
such yearning for a core meaning of existence
overrun by one for comfort & pretty things
always comfort & pretty things
there is more to life
there is more to life
there is more to life
there is more to life
there is more to life
there is
more