Friday, December 30, 2011

I know it doesn't matter, but...

I wanna make some New Years resolutions this year.
Not grand, unrealistic plans, nothing like that. No, i just wanna put into words the things i wanna continue doing, or do better, next year. Simple goals and simple wishes.
I didn't do any last year, and i actually regretted that. It's not supposed to matter, but it does.
2011 has been an interesting, but not always good,  year for me.
Challenging would be one way to put it i guess.

The year started out pretty crappy.
The earthquake and tsunami that hit our beloved Japan destroyed tens of thousands of lives, and broke our hearts. It was also the reason we haven't been to Japan in over a year. 2011 is the first year since 2005 i haven't been in Tokyo at all, and i don't like it one bit.
I could go on and on about this tragedy, an ongoing tragedy that's barely getting any media attention any more, but this post is supposed to be... i don't know what it's supposed to be really? A quick summary? Something like that, cause i don't think i'll have time for it tomorrow.

Anyway, the first six months of 2011 weren't great for me.
I started taking this anti-acne medication in January and had to keep taking it until June.
This medication is so strong and so potentially dangerous that it's used only as a last resort for those who don't respond to any other treatment. Having suffered from moderate to severe acne since i was 13, there really weren't any other options left.
Considering that a known side effect of the medication is suicidal thoughts, i got off fairly easy.
For those 6 months, my skin, and lips in particular, were so dry that i wasn't allowed to leave my house without chapstick or wash my hair more than once a week, and every month i had to go to the dermatologist and assure the doctor that i wasn't pregnant. Yeah, another side effect of the pills are severe birth defects, so had i gotten pregnant, i would have been forced to have an abortion.
Good thing that wasn't an issue for us, but still, it took some extra planning to make sure that i 100% would not get pregnant!
Those pills were also the reason we didn't do any work on my elephant piece at all during that time. After seeing how bad the one little tattoo i did get healed, i wasn't taking any more chances, so for a long time, i had to put all tattoo projects on hold.

For those first months of the year, i also started seeing a therapist for the first time in my life.
That in itself was a good experience, but when our sessions came to an end, i wasn't actually better off than before i started.
It took several terribly frightening panic attacks for me to finally realize that i'd only scratched the surface of my anxiety problems, and that much more work was ahead of me if i ever wanted to live a life that wasn't controlled by fear and insecurity.
The panic attacks affected every trip we went on in 2011, and even now, i can't think of Hong Kong, Prague or London with anything but mixed feelings. That's the thing with panic attacks; they attach themselves to memories, taint them, and make themselves the one thing you remember above all else. Above all the good stuff.
I still have a long way to go, but at least i'm learning so much about myself, and life en general, in the process.

So yeah, lots of panic and anxiety this year, and it certainly didn't help my already kind of fragile state that my beloved grandfather died in June.
At the time, i thought the most important thing was "handling the situation well", and being strong for him and my family. Feeling sorry for myself for losing a loved one, or even grieving properly, was not something i allowed myself to do, and it came back to bite me in the ass later.
But i am ok, now. I miss him, so much, but after giving myself permission to grieve and cry for my loss, i got better.

Wow, it really sounds like i've had a sucky year, huh?
But seriously, it hasn't been that bad.
Because of my anxiety, and the therapy i've been going to, i am realizing a lot of things about myself that i never knew:

-I am learning to be less insecure, and care less about other people's opinion of me.
As a result, i am being more open, creatively, and because i spend less time worrying about people judging my work, i have started drawing and painting again. And instead of hiding the results in drawers and folders, i am sharing them on the internet, and even framing a few of my doodles and hanging them in my apartment!
I've said yes to some fairly challenging millinery projects that i would have hesitated to work on before, and built myself a new website with the purpose of promoting myself and my work a little better.
I'm learning that everything i do and make doesn't have to be perfect, or better than anybody else's work, it's ok that it's my best and that i enjoyed making it.

-I am learning not to let people walk all over me, and that sometimes, it's ok to put myself first.
In the past, and 2011 as well, i've been so helpful at times it's ridiculous. I would do so much and it would go completely unnoticed and unappreciated, and the disappointment in people i considered friends would just break my heart. I realized that some people in my life took my kindness for granted, and others just plain used me as a doormat. I am still working on setting boundaries and occasionally saying no, and limiting contact to those who'd take advantage of my kind nature; whether they know it or not.

-I'm getting better and better at thinking positive and appreciating what i got. It's hard breaking a life long pattern of bitching and complaining and putting other people down, but when you stop and feel the results, it's so worth it. I've had to leave the room on occasion (or aggressively change the subject) when friends or family members start ranting about stuff or people that bothers them in a way that's nonconstructive, but the more i stay away from that kind of thinking, the happier i am.
It's scary how natural it comes to people, though, and how much it bothers them to be called out on it, and in some cases, i fear it's too late to change, but that doesn't mean that i have to take part in the complaining and the talking about people behind their back. In fact, i don't have to listen to it at all.

-I'm exercising more. I hate exercise, but it's a great way to rid the body of anxiety and stress, and with that as my motivation, i look forward to continue this new habit in 2012.

-My husband. He's obviously not something i'm learning about myself, but he is someone i appreciate more and more each day. Every time my friends or family have let me down, he's been there, being loving and supportive, and making me feel not alone and not crazy.
The life we have together is so special and awesome, i can't even describe it.
We get to go to work together every day, to a shop we both love, and we get to be stupid and make each other laugh all the time. And we let each other change and turn into new people all the time, without judging and without fear of losing each other.


.... oh, god, what a rant!
Why didn't you stop me? And why didn't i save this for tomorrow?
Well, because tomorrow is New Years eve, and even though this is gonna be the most relaxed, almost anti-New Years eve, ever*, i'd still rather spend the day cooking than blogging!
Oh, and blogging more in 2012 is definitely gonna be on the resolutions list! I know it's been a slow year on the untitled blog, but i've had stuff on my mind, and stuff to work out, and the pressure of daily posting just wasn't something i needed at this time.
But i look forward to seeing where this soon to be 4 year old blog is going. And if and when i hit 500 followers, this anti-giveaway blogger is definitely doing a special giveaway!

One last really good thing about 2011 (although it hasn't even happened yet): sometime today i am going to be an aunt. How great of a way to end the year is that? Pretty great, i think.


If you read this far; thanks for having the attention span of a fucking wizard, and for sticking with me this year!
I wish you all a very happy New Year and a fantastic non-apocalyptic 2012!




Ps. By the way; the medication worked and i am basically acne free for the first time in my adult life. Only someone who suffers from this, or another equally socially crippling skin disease, can fully understand how crazy and awesome that feels. I only wish i'd done it sooner so i could have maybe had a few years of no acne and no wrinkles... no such luck, i'm afraid, but i'm still pretty stoked!


 *The plan is this: make lots of food, dress up, eat the food together with our friend Martin, have some drinks, play Xbox and pass out on the couch. No decorations, no fireworks and no parties. I'm pretty excited about that!

25 comments:

  1. I've reached wizard reading status. I seriously have been struggling with my stupid skin more and more lately and have been thinking about trying something more serious than the usual skin washy stuff. Nothing seems to be working, it makes me feel better that you went through it too. I have wrinkles and acne together. Not cute. Not at all. That's why you hardly ever see straight on photos of me on my blog, I'm too ashamed of my pizza face. hahaha ew.

    Hooray to not caring what people think, and trying to be more positive. I've set a vague goal not to say negative things unnecessarily (it took me SEVEN tries to spell that right!!!). It's hard but when I succeed I find I don't leave a conversation feeling weird or like I've said too much. I feel like it makes me more proud of the way I'm representing myself when I keep it all light and positive and drama-free. More of that in 2012!

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  2. I love this post!! I can't believe how similar thoughts are amongst people with anxiety. I feel like I just read a post about myself! Especially with relationships with people. I was going to have similar New Years resolutions but part of me thinks I will never do it (stop caring what people think of me, speaking up for myself, stop letting people walk all over me and quit being so negative towards others). After reading this I feel inspired to actually stick to it and do it. 2012 has to be a more positive year for me too. Thanks so much for sharing, I know I have said it before but sharing like this does really help others and your so brave for doing so. Happy New Year to you and Allan! I have every faith you will get to where your going! xx

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  3. Hej
    I love your entry. Honest and straightforward. Though I have difficulty accepting this thought, I belive that suffering in life makes us better. It puryfies us of false concepts of ourselves. Keep beeing that person, thanks for sharing that much.
    PS. Have you tried Farenheit for Xbox? ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZZZcqqhszg ). It's cool:P

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  4. I've been meaning to do a post like this all week! You may have spurred me on!

    You've had quite a year and it's great to see you taking so many positives from it :) 

    And your NYE sounds awesome! That's what we'd be doing if we weren't going to visit G's mother. Home clubbing is where it's at!

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  5. I love you Amalie! Happy happy new year!
    (I'll email you soon)
    Hope that 2012 is full of happiness and positive growth!
    Xoxo

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  6. Tak fordi du har ladet os følge med på sidelinjen. Det har for mig, der kender til det med angst og at komme videre derfra, været utroligt inspirerende og rart med en meget ærlig skildring.
    I må have en dejlig aften, godt nytår.

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  7. aimee lynne-HirschowitzDecember 31, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    This was a beautiful post.  May 2012 bring you comfort and even more understanding.  Acupuncture helps with anxiety, much more than Buspar or any other anti-anxiety drug.  I didn't read you were on one, but thought I'd add that.  And all your creative loosening up is for the best.  You've been undervaluing yourself and your talent and if you don't stand behind yourself, it is very difficult to get anywhere, even when others recognize your greatness (and I feel people do!  people love your blog, your photographs, your hats, your writing, etc.) Power! Power! and kindness.  and happiness.  in 2012.

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  8. Wizard Nova, i salute you!!
    I can't recommend or not recommend the treatment i was on. It was right for me, but i got lucky with the side effects (although i didn't feel lucky at the time!) and i can't guarantee the same for others.
    But after so many years, living with it just wasn't an option for me anymore.
    And even though i felt really awkward and embarrassed writing about it, i feel that it's important to share.
    I think you should see a dermatologist and get their advice, just for a start.
    And i know what you mean about not wanting to post pictures. Pretty much every close up posted of my here since 2008 have been retouched. I guess that's the only good thing acne had ever gotten me: sweet photoshop editing skills!

    Amen to keeping things drama free. It's true what you say, leaving a conversation feeling like you've brought something positive to it and having your dignity unwounded is a great feeling, and it rubs off on others too (or so i'd like to think).

    Thanks so much for commenting and sharing, it makes me feel less uncomfortable about opening up to the entire internet!

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  9. Thank you so much. I don't think i'm brave at all, i've just had a lot of practice with the blog over the years, so taking it to the next level and sharing a bit more every time doesn't seem so dangerous.
    You're right about us being similar; we all think our thoughts are so unique, but they really aren't, especially the compulsive ones!
    I think you should do the new years resolutions, and i will too, and hopefully we can all help each other stick to them!

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  10. That's an interesting thought, but probably true. If we went through life without struggle there wouldn't be much reason to get to know, or better yourself at all. And i feel, and hope, that what i'm going through will make me a better person, to the benefit of my loved ones and everyone i come into contact with regularly.
    And no, i have not tried Farenheit, but thatnks for the recommendation!
    Best of luck to you in 2012.

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  11. That sounds fun too, to hell with conventional partying this year!
    I really felt like just spending this new years with the one person who's really been there for me this year, and not a bunch of strangers.
    It'll be fun!

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  12. No, i'm the one who's gonna email you!
    In fact, i think that's gonna be one of my resolutions; email Alice more! Cause i've really sucked at that in 2011.
    I love you!!

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  13. Tak, du må også ha' en rigtig god aften!

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  14. Thanks for your thoughts. I don't actually take any anxiety medication. I have some pills that my doctor gave me, but the pack has been unopened in my bag for months. I'm not against medication, i'd just rather not go there if i can avoid it.
    But i actually know a dude who does acupuncture, so maybe i'll try to make an appointment with him!
    It's true that i get a lot of nice comments and compliments on my work, but when the anxiety and insecurity is in control, the brain will simply refuse to believe that they're sincere (whereas any critical comment, whether it has merit or not, will be accepted as the absolute truth!) But i'm working on getting better at that, and will continue to in 2012.
    Thank you so much again, have a great new years.

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  15. Best thing I've read today.

    I wish you all the best for this new year and beyond.

    J

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  16. Happy New Year! Love your blog! xxx

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  17. What a beautiful post! After all this crazy sad things in the beginning of 2011, you really deserve all the good moments you described at the end of the post.
     I'll say: continue to be who you are and accept all your evolution as a gift :) Sometimes when the wheel turns, I just sit down and stay focused on gratitude...I don't know if it works for you, but for me it's like a magic feeling....
    I can't wait to see more about your drawings!

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  18. I'm not good at writing stuff to make people feel better... I didn't knew all the stuff that happened to you this year but i really hope it will get better for the next year coming up! xx

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  19. This post really touched me.. Deeply. It's like i could have wrote some parts.
    I sincerely thank you for sharing those meaningful and helpful thoughts and feelings.
    Next level is great level
    Wish you all the best

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  20. Same to you, and see you soon!

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  21. That's great advice, thank you!

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  22. That's ok, and thanks,  i appreciate your comment  a lot!

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  23. Thank you so much, all the best to you too.

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  24. Thank you, Amalie,  for this post, once again !
    You make me feel not alone ;)
    I wish you the best for 2012, love, love, love and happiness
    K

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