O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done.

For the most sensitive among us the noise can be too much
– Jim Carrey on Phillip Seymour-Hoffman’s passing.

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I was sitting in a Starbucks near Times Square when I first heard the news that Robin Williams had committed suicide  – on Facebook of all places. I screamed “No!”, but covered my mouth too late – the sound was already out there. Thankfully, everyone was so busy Starbucking and talking that my “No” quickly drowned in the stew of noises and voices and blenders. No one noticed.

I read the headline on my phone, and my heart dropped, or at least that’s what it felt like. Then immediately I became consumed with sorrow. Then that sorrow turned into panic. Panic, because this wasn’t ever supposed to happen. It must be a cosmic mistake. Robin Williams was supposed to be the male equivalent to Betty White. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that we would loose him this early, and I will admit that I took him for granted. Despite the love we all felt and feel for him, we took his presence on this earth, and in our lives, for granted. He was supposed to be there for me forever, and as I write this now, I can’t believe my own selfishness. I see now that that is a lot to ask of a person.

So now I just feel sorrow. And sometimes disbelief.

In my life, I have been sad – really, really sad. I call it “sad” because it’s a feeling so primal and raw, that it feels ageless. This feeling should be described with a word that is not reserved to any particular age or knowledge – a word that we all know. I have been sad, and I have also been suicidal. Each time, I have chosen to stay. Until Monday, he has, too – until now. This time, he chose to go.

Somehow, we are assuming that he never got any help. We are assuming that there were all of these options that he never went for – that he hadn’t already tried medication and therapy. We know he self-medicated. We know that he struggled. We know that this can’t have been an easy decision. Many have made it sound like the knowledge of the love we all felt could have saved him, and somehow could have prevented him from making this decision. I don’t think that’s true.

I’m absolutely certain that he felt, and knew, the love of his family – and probably the rest of us, too. By all accounts, him and his family were very close, and it seems like he especially had a close bond with his children. They are probably why he stayed for as long as he did, until he just couldn’t anymore. But ultimately, we will never know. He didn’t leave a note, and if he had, I don’t think the public would have been deserving of its content. All we know is that he must really have wanted to go.

The thought of him being gone is very heard to bear, and sometimes I don’t believe it. As an audience, we are lucky that we got to have him for as long as we did, and he owes us nothing. He has left an incredible legacy, and I can’t wait to show my future children the movies that have brought me comfort and love throughout my childhood, youth, now, and undoubtedly forever.

But it’s more than that. He was my friend. He was probably your friend, too. He was my family. He was probably your family, too. I remember watching “Mrs. Doubtfire” for the first time, amazed that a father could feel so much love for his children that he would go to those lengths to spend time with them. In those two hours, I made believe that he was my father, and he really was. He had such kind (but sometimes sad) eyes, and I could tell that he wouldn’t mind that I allowed myself to believe that I was his. He gave me so much love, and I will forever be grateful for that.

So thank you, Mr. Williams. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. May you finally find peace and happiness.

I grieve for his wife and children. My god, I can’t imagine the heartbreak they are experiencing right now. I imagine it’s that of the whole world, ten fold, and that’s saying something.

I want to share something my brother posted on Facebook yesterday, because I feel that it is poignant and worth-while, and it is truly one of the most articulate and well thought out responses I have read thus far.

If a teenager chooses to commit suicide, be it over cyberbullying or depression – it’s like folding your hand of cards before looking at them.
You’re at a very vulnerable age, and you’re not even old enough to buy cigarettes in most countries – so you’re not old enough to fully assess the quality of your life as a whole, seeing as you’ve only statistically seen 25% of it.

When Gandolfini died of a stroke at the age of 51, he died on vacation in Italy with his son. No choice there.
He died from having lived the type of life he wanted to live. Quite suddenly.

Robin Williams decided to take his own life at the age of 63.
63. That’s closing up on retirement age.
I think that’s just about old enough to decide whether you want to live.
That’s old enough for me to actually respect his decision, and let him go gracefully. (as gracefully as is possible)

It doesn’t surprise me that he chose to take his own life at 63 – and I think that his suicide shouldn’t be what we remember him for.
He should be remembered for his great gifts to the human experience.

“It’s so sad, he had so much more to give.”
How do you know?
Maybe he was out of shit.

My Yearly Retreat

A week and a half ago I began to write a post that was cut short mid-sentence and left to dust and wilt in my drafts folder. After reading it again, I think that was a wise decision. I mean, it doesn’t make me cringe like the posts from when I was 15 make me cringe, but it makes me cringe that I could use that many words and yet say absolutely nothing. Am I turning into Don Draper? Not to mention the pretentiously poetic undertone – I mean, when that gets free reign, you know I’m out of control.

This is my third week in New York, and I think the message I wanted to get across in the aforementioned post is how much I love this place, and how the mere thought of the summers I get to spend over here gives me energy needed to function as a human being. I think I am the kind of person who needs to go really far away every once in a while, like the Bounty Islands or Small Town, Long Island, to get my internal compass straight. It’s like I need to try something totally different to be able to pick up where I left off – but I suppose that is the case for many a person. Here on Long Island, I have been trimming hedges and painting kitchens, which is like the perfect conclusion to a year of stressing about papers and group work. In fact, I have discovered that I love trimming hedges. Trimming hedges is good for the soul, I think. It takes finesse and keeps you on your toes.

As for my “epoch-making” 25th birthday, which was the main topic of my previous post (god, bloggers are so conceited), it came and went. Who had seen that coming? And to top it off, I don’t feel that different – again, my previous question applies. There’s healthy reflection, and then there is making a big magilla out of nothing. Now, I will most likely do the exact same thing next year, but I think these are at least somewhat healthy thoughts I am having. Perhaps not the “I’m now closer to fifty than to the day I was born”-ones, but the “What am I doing, where am I going”-thoughts.

I had three exams in June, and did relatively okay. I guess it all depends on your expectations. One I had expected to fail but passed, and one I had expected to ace but was instead greatly disappointed. Then lastly, there was the one that caught me off guard; the one that was the culmination of a semester’s worth of group-work and (perhaps) unnecessary self-doubt. It was my first oral exam at the university, and it was also my first exam as a group – lots of firsts in this exam block. We passed that one with flying colors, together. After we had received our grades, the general mood was just euphoric. We had all hoped for the best and prepared for the worst, I think, and were all eager for this whole thing to be over and done with. I was so proud of the three of us. It was the best grade I have received yet in this era of my academic career.

Now all of this seems very far away. Next semester I will be studying the reign of Emperor Justinian, which wasn’t my first pick, but you know what, I am going to love the hell out of it anyway. I just feel so fortunate to be learning.

Well, it’s pouring down outside, and I think I might have to pee, so it’s best that I end this here — the rain is practically taunting my bladder at this point. Thank you for reading, and I will see you again soon! (and that’s both a threat and a promise!).

On my upcoming milestone

Writing

Last Friday, my group and I had handed in the 30-paged result of our group work about the treatment of stray dogs in 18th and 19th century Copenhagen. This sounds like the most useless subject ever (we didn’t choose it), and I admit the literature on this was quite sparse, but it was actually a big problem in Europe at the time (dating all the way back to the 16th century), so there was a point somewhere in there somewhere. I think. We’ll see what the professionals say when we have to “defend” it on June 24th. I feel kind of 85% about it, you know? All three of us did everything we could, but I’m not sure it measures up to what is expected at this point, but only time will tell. I will try to take it as a learning experience. Group work is (damn) hard, and I took that as a learning experience, too.

This Friday, the 6th of the 6th, is my birthday. 25: a quarter of a century. My grandfather and I picked up my birthday gift last week — a pair of light blue bouncy sneakers that will undoubtedly take me far this summer. We also watched that movie about Donald Rumsfeld. Seriously, would you buy a used car from that man? I don’t think so. With this movie he set the stage for his own self-promotion, and while I admire his zealous approach to note-taking, I think it is important to take what is said with a grain of salt. It is Mr. Weapons-Of-Mass-Destruction after all. But it made me smarter, and anything that makes me smarter is greatly valued by me. That is also what I told my Global History-Professor during our evaluation, that every Friday afternoon at 5 I have left the classroom feeling just so much smarter. And he in return told me that that is exactly how he wanted to make us feel.

But back to my 25th birthday. I feel sort of sad about this birthday. It’s a milestone of some sort, and it feels as if I am turning an important corner of my life. I’m beginning to feel a sense of pressure, and a need to plan where I am going in regards to everything. What am I working towards? How can I plan things just right to where I can accomplish it all and in due time? Is it the media that is making me feel old? Is it because I, despite my now present feminist enlightenment, have been spoonfed that a woman only has so many years to “fool around” and do what she wants to do before she ought to start thinking in practicalities?

Man.

If that is how I subconsciously think, then I don’t even deserve a birthday. But we can’t get around it — it’s there. It’s a fact.

I’m working on achieving my BA degree as we speak, and four years from now I will hopefully have that, and my master’s degree in the bag. I’ll be 29 then. Every day I dream of munching on fat baby arms and legs; I even talked to my grandmother about it this weekend. I can’t remember the exact wording of the question, but she asked me something along the lines of, “Aren’t you just so much looking forward to having children?”, to which I said, “YES! So much. I can’t wait.” It’s a topic I could talk about forever, really, but then I remember that it is absolutely not the right time right now, and I am a firm believer in timing things—probably because my siblings and I all came as surprises, and as our family grew, our financial means did not, if you know what I mean. And that was hard.

A is very sensible, very responsible. I love him for that – so much. It is very important for me that we are on the same page on this, and until we are, there will be no babies. Just lots of lovin’.

But back to my birthday (this is getting a little repetitive). I got an email from some Danish jewelry website that they are closing, and that all their items are at least 60% off, so I bought myself some birthday presents. All of this for less than 80 bucks, and the pearls are real! I have always wanted a pearl necklace, but they are always so expensive, so this felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have never bought myself birthday presents before, but I kind of like it!

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This post is about many things

You know, just a heads up.

So. My semester is coming to an end, and right now, as I’m lying here on my couch cuddled up in a blanket, I feel pretty confident that I’ll be able to grab the upcoming finals by the nuts and twist them just hard enough to make it go my way. Then again, I tend to be very coy, here on my couch. Perhaps as the days come closer, I will remember who I am and how much I effing hate finals, but right now I’m waiting for “Blood Relatives” to come on and I’m feeling quite courageous.

I ordered in tonight. I made the decision on my way home from school, that I was going to treat myself to five of my favorite salads from this place that has the most delicious healthy foods for no money. When I walked in the door, I put down my bag, hung my coat on the rack, and went straight to my computer with my credit card and placed the order. An hour later my food arrived and I loved myself for making that decision.

I try very hard not to splurge so often, but today I just knew I needed someone else to cook for me. The last time I splurged I bought a set of weekday underwear in H&M. Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe today is “Wild Wednesday”.

Anyway.

The following emotions have been taking the high-seat in my mind lately:

  • Broodiness. I’m so fucking broody that I can barely contain myself. I’m seeing these beautiful fat spring babies everywhere, and I just don’t know how one can have such a delicious thing without munching on their thighs all the time. And with TWINS! Oh boy, I just would take turns munching.
  • Disappointment that I haven’t been as good of a dieter lately. Truth be told, I’m afraid to get on the scale. I’m telling you, it’s all those baby thighs.
  • Frustration that I’m finding group-work to be so challenging. Why can’t I just EMBRACE this challenge, and appreciate it for what it is: less of a workload for me. Oh, and I suppose it is good for some other things, too.
  • This one is kind of lame, but Happiness that our public service television station was able to pull off such a spectacular “Eurovision” show. We went 22 million Danish kroner over budget, but MAN. I had no idea we had it in us to pull off something like that. I think we all let out a sigh of relief, to be honest.
  • Excitement that in a month and a half, I’ll be going off to New York to spend the summer with my Andrew, my wonderfully lovable mother-in-law, and their cat, Petey. He and I are not yet what you might call fully acquainted, but I have meowed at him on FaceTime (which is sort of a stupid and pointless thing to do).
  • Eagerness to start something new. Once I get home from New York, I think I will do some things to spruce up my every day life — you know, inject it with some fun or life quality or some shit. I have the whole summer to figure it out, but it’s going to be good, I think. Maybe I’ll get a cat or paint a wall or something.

I think I need a category called ‘navel-gazing’

The weather has been so beautiful here lately. I don’t have any pictorial evidence, but I’m telling you it’s the best of the best, and enough to have made me lose my red coat – which is a step I am very cautious about taking because I HATE being cold. Like, I almost fear it. So, I think this is step number one towards living a more risqué lifestyle for me.

Once I was talking to a friend, and we were trying to come up with these short descriptions of each other – something short about whom we were in a nutshell. She came up with mine immediately: careful optimist. I think she came up with her own, too, because I need time to think about things and frankly I took this all very seriously. But despite of our friendship not being that intimate (we had just gotten to know each other), I feel like she captured my very core in those two words, and I remember thinking it was such a kind and sympathetic way to describe me.

It was like she understood me, and understood what made me tick – understood that deep down I believe life is a beautiful thing and that I have a desire to be free; I just have some roadblocks in my way sometimes. My life is so unpredictable, and I don’t have much to count on, so sometimes it is easy to fall into a hole of pessimism and all of this stuff that is ultimately not me, because deep down I just want to participate in this world and be happy – just like everyone else. It’s very banal, but it’s true.

Taken in the summer of '09. I wonder if I still have those shoes.

Taken in the summer of ’09. I wonder if I still have those shoes.

I don’t jump into things, and I spend a lot of time considering my next move. It’s something that is so deeply rooted in me, and I also believe it’s a necessary quality considering how I break so easily. I have to be careful. I have to think worst cause scenario. I keep a scale in my mental pocket at all times to weigh out the options – is this worth possibly limping over for the next three months? Is this worth possibly only being able to type with one hand in school for the next three months while my other arm is in a sling? Right now I have to spare my feet, which means I have to say no to things I really want to say yes to, but I have to use my feet wisely – like being able to walk around the archives, for example. Currently my feet are giving some leeway as they don’t hurt so badly anymore, but again – one wrong step and I’m right back to where I was.

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Also from the summer of ’09.

None of this has anything to do with my finally leaving my coat at home. Or has it? DUN DUN DUN. Perhaps all my neuroses are tied up in one big super neurosis that will eventually jump out of my body as a clone; except it will have worry-wrinkles all over its face and pimples and will probably comfort-eat a lot. LIKE TEEN ME!

For the poultry

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Sofie and this magnolia tree wishes you a happy belated Easter!

Man oh man oh man, Happy Easter! I’m a little late, but the sentiment is genuine enough. And for those who didn’t celebrate the resurrection of Christ: Happy weekend being off from work! I know it’s now Wednesday and all, but my aforementioned comment regarding my sentiments still stands.

With this Easter thing – like fellow agnostics Thucydides and Zac Efron, I’m mostly in it for the eggs, but who knows what the future has in store for me – could it be a spiritual enlightenment, perhaps? I just don’t know. About that, about God, about us ever finding out. I just don’t know. And I am okay with that, for now. For now, it feels like I have bigger fish to fry.

I have had the last week off, and it has in truth been rejuvenating. It’s been so rejuvenating that large parts of my face have broken out in zits and other wonderful things that take me right back to the days of Bright Eyes and photoshopping piercings on photos of my face to see how it would look. I’m not sure what’s going on, but when I asked for spring chicken this was not what I meant – YOU HEAR? See, I don’t know if there is anyone up there to hear this, and that’s okay – I just like yelling. I don’t think it’s anything hormonal (that goes for both the skin and the yelling), and I have been drinking plenty of water (even though I HATE it), plus I’ve tried very hard to lay off the carbohydrates (especially sugar) – so, like, what can it be? This is not the big fish I was talking about, by the way. This is like a sardine in the grand scheme of things.

For the last week or so I have been working on a post about my experiences with grade school, and I really hope I will finish it because I think it will prove to be cathartic for me in the end. It’s not even about hitting ‘publish’; it’s just acknowledging all of these things that I have been remembering lately and penning them down –working through it in my own way, as I have always done. One day I will work up the drive to go see someone about this (and everything else). I need to unload the little red wagon I’ve been dragging behind me a little bit.

Some days

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My classes were cancelled today, and I didn’t get up until late, though still on the right side of 12pm. I always set ten or so alarms, and this morning I remember turning each of them off, because, you see, I just wasn’t ready. Ready to leave my dream, my bed, and my bedbug-friends. When I finally did open my eyes, the air was ice cold. Like, freezing. Like, at the end of my bed stood the iceberg that sank the Titanic. That’s how cold it was. And the shit wasn’t melting. THAT’S how cold it was.

What the hell, April – you gave me the sniffles!

My mother came by in the afternoon to drink tea and keep me company. I needed the tea and I definitely needed the company. She also did the dishes I had piled up in and around my sink, while I provided her with some quality audial entertainment: myself, and my witty stories. I don’t know what I will do the day my mother grows out of my witty stories… sometimes I think my stories are the stories only a mother can love.

This week has been rough for different reasons, but none of them useless. There are some things I need to take care of, some patterns I need to deal with, and some parts of me I have to learn how to accept (and perhaps even love). Next week I am going to look into getting help to do all of this somehow, because I think it’s time. I hope it’s time. But I can make that call, right? I have that power. I think I have spent too many years trying to fix my own shit.

But Tonight I have a few things to celebrate:

- I’m finally out of one of the worst PMS-hazes of my life.
- I figured out how to watch the American Netflix on my laptop. I’m going to bring it with me to bed in a little bit.
- I did not give in to my extreme urges to stuff my face with junk food (and such things).
- I did however treat myself to a bowl of Greek yoghurt with granola.
- I had very few mess-ups when I painted my nails this evening.
- I’m on vacation. And soon, I will have a cardboard egg full of things that taste good.

Tomorrow will be a good, productive day. Say it with me. Tomorrow will be a good, productive day.