Year: 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Still Standing

2014 was in many ways one of my more turbulent years. Between losing a job I loved, daring to open myself to love again and being absolutely fucking toasted to well … just about every fucking thing 204 threw my way, well, I’d be lying if I said I thought it was good.

2014 was the year where barricades I had built around myself were torn down. I dared to let others in on a scale that I haven’t done in years. And I was rewarded for it. I’ve been pushed, challenged, cajoled and even bullied into growing. I was forced to take a pretty hard look at who I thought myself to be, and found things were not as good as I thought. And so I grew. I even learned to love myself, not for who I wanted to be, but who I actually am … because that person is pretty goddamn great. The renovation is not done, but I’ve come along way.

The thing about taking chances is that more often than not, it pays off. Greatly. New friendships were forged, new possibilities have presented themselves and the world is truly out there just waiting for us to go do our thing.

And it’s been pretty amazing to see how people around me have had near similar experiences. 2014 just threw so much shit at us. But every single one of us are holding on to dear life, and coming out so much better and stronger for it. How awesome is that?

Here’s to 2015. It’s gonna be a grand adventure. Why don’t you join me?

Armor

It’s getting dark and cold now. The wind is biting my cheeks and knuckles, and it digs deep into my core. Winter has always been particularly brutal. I don’t do well with the short dark days and the cold. It feeds every negative emotion that I have, and multiplies them. I’m not sure it’s healthy, but then again … what is?

The dark and cold came suddenly this year, but I believe I think that every year. Suddenly the darkness wraps itself around us and we huddle inside our coats and scarves. Collars are pulled up. Every single person an island that tries to shield itself from the cold.

The christmas lights are coming up, and there’s music in the streets. I don’t listen to it. I shut myself in with the help of Spotify. I put on my armor … an angry look on my face, a cap on my head and the hood pulled up. It carves a path for me through the crowds. No one wants to get on the wrong side of the malignant asshole walking down the street. It’s one benefit of my size and look, I suppose.

This armor has served me well for years. It shuts everything out, and allows me to be alone in a sea of people. I used to think that I didn’t like to be this way, but it’s grown on me. It’s grown into me. It’s become a part of who I am, even as I’ve worked hard to put alot of my past behind me. Some things endure, I guess. It’s all a matter of self-preservation, I think. Some scars run deep, and especially this time of year pokes and pulls at the old wounds.

I’m not entirely sure when it became like this, but one thing is certain. The armor is not ready to be retired. I need it still, and I fear I will for many years to come.

Octavius Landsvik

About a week ago I attended a Harry Potter inspired LARP in Poland, where I played the role of Octavius Landsvik, prefect of House Durentius.

A list of offensive things

So this week I learnt that the order of offensiveness looks something like this – from least to most offensive:

  1. “Your mom” jokes
  2. Dead baby jokes
  3. Jokes about WWII
  4. Really bad jokes about feminism
  5. Spoiling an episode of either Sons of Anarchy or Game of Thrones

I’m not entirely sure I understand the order of this, and luckily I don’t want to. But this is what I learnt. I’m a terrible human being, apparently.

Beneath the stars

I’ve got Texas playing loudly on the speakers. The speedometer says 120 km/h and the stars are lighting my way. The radio says the time is 3:30, but I know that’s bullshit because we’ve switched to wintertime and I’ve yet to set the clock on my car stereo. In the back seat are two people very dear to me. They’re sleeping soundly as we hurdle across the country. We’re heading home to Aarhus.

Last night we were werewolves. We’d been over to Copenhagen to visit the cairn there. We had unfinished business to attend to.

It was the night where a young galliard restored a small portion of honor to his cairn, and challenged his elder. A jarl was bound with a mockingstone. A cliath rose to fostern.

Enemies were identified and vows made to bring them down.

We howled at the sky, so that it might show us Mani. But it did not listen. We cried for lost friends and abandoned souls, but we did not feel better. We raged at those who would take our blood, but their fear did not grow. Two pups were introduced to their new reality.

Racing thoughts

I find it increasingly difficult to focus these days. I’m stretched too thin. Like butter scraped over too much bread (thanks, Bilbo).

The problem is that all the things that are drawing on me are all unequivocally good things. But it’s draining, and I find my usual barriers and defences aren’t working anymore. I shut down at times, and just sit there, staring into space. I react, rather than act. And things are breaking inside me because of that.

Emotionally I’m drained, which isn’t that unreasonable given that I sleep like shit and eat even worse. It’s not entirely wrong to say that I am neglecting myself. Put myself on hold, to try and do everything else all at once. And that means nothing gets done. Which means I get exhausted, depressed and confused. I feel anxiety attacks pressing at the back of my eyes, but I don’t really have anything to worry about.

Oddly enough it has nothing to do with my work. Everything is awesome at work. Great colleagues, exciting tasks and all that. It’s everything else. I’m trying to run an association, while organising a convention, while preparing for an extended roleplaying trip, while releasing a couple of open-source projects, while … while … while …

Is it any wonder that I feel fucked up? I hope not.

In fact I often find myself fluctuating between states of extreme energy and joy that, in the span of less than half an hour, can flip to feelings of depression and despondency.

Maybe it’s just because so many things are new. I’ve been at the new job less than two months, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t taxing to travel back and forth between Aarhus and Copenhagen. Then there’s this girl that’s been on my mind a lot, and the aforementioned convention that we’re still unsure about whether it’ll be a success. So much going on, it’s just … a bit too much I think.

Maybe I just need to centre myself again. Previously I’ve been fairly good at realising when my mental balance was beginning to go of kilter. And I’d been able to react accordingly. Not so much these days, I must admit. I guess it’s just about me learning to relax again, and take things as they come.

True story

Nomad II

The acceleration pushes me down into the seat and the pressure makes me ear goes pop. The Offspring’s “You’re Gonna Go Along Way, Kid” lead-in reaches it’s crescendo just as the wheels lift off from the ground. My stomach churns a little. This is my fourth flight in 48 hours.

I’m heading home from Sofia as I compose this post. I’ve been to WordCamp Europe, and it’s been a ridiculously awesome experience. The last 36 hours in Sofia have been chock-a-box full of inspiration, learning, laughter and talks from people whose brains are so much larger than mine, it’s almost embarrassing.

I particularly enjoyed both Andrew Nacins talk on “Post-Modern WordPress”, as well as Mark Jaquiths rundown of the next generation hosting stack for WordPress. But talks were as much about inspiration and ideas as they were about technical details, server daemons and code.

Siobhan McKeown probably gave the talk that moved me the most. She dove into philosophies behind the WordPress project, and talked about the thinkers that inspired those ideas. She touched on the pillars of freedom, simplicity and democracy that are the foundation that has made such a difference.

Coming home from spending so much time among ones “own people” and, have no doubt, these were my people. It can be difficult to take it all in. I’m still overwhelmed with the warmth, the openness and the sharing that occurred.

I want more. Now, please.

WordCamp Europe

Come friday, I’ll be flying to Sofia to attend WordCamp Europe. It’s a team trip, so we’re more than a half of Peytz’ WordPress team that’s gonna head out.

It’s gonna be my first WordCamp, and I’ve been checking out the programme. It’s chock-a-box full of good stuff, and it’s gonna be a real challenge deciding what I want to focus on.

Nomad

For the past couple of months I’ve been living a life not unlike that of a nomad.

See, the job I had at a small advertising agency disappeared. The company went bust. I was out of a job. After the initial panic had settled it was time to look for something new.

In this regard I am extremely fortunate. I work in an industry where there’s almost always some sort of work to find. As such it took me a mere twelve days from the time I was laid off, to when I had a new signed contract in my hands.

The only issue was the new job was more than 300 kilometres away. Quite a bit more than what a daily commute would make room for. So here I am … crashing on friends sofas, wedging myself in with family I haven’t seen regularly for years.

I still have my flat in Aarhus. But it’s not really home anymore. Nowhere really is. I’m never in one place long enough for me to settle into a rhythm. Half the time I’m living out of a weekend bag, and the other half I’m preparing to live out of a weekend bag.

It’s been awesome and amazing. It’s also incredibly hard. The drain that comes with not having the option of shutting the door and being alone with your own thoughts for days on end really takes a toll. Add to that, that most people would probably prefer not to have vagrant living on their sofa … well, it’s a challenge.

But I like challenges, and with this one it seems that I might return home to the city where I was born. A place I haven’t lived in for over ten years. It’s a weird feeling, that scares me to some degree. I wasn’t, and am not, terribly proud of the person I was back then, and I’ve tried my hardest to change that. I think I’ve had some decent success with that, but it doesn’t change the fact that there’s a small niggling voice in the back of my head saying “what if …”.

On the other hand, I do feel like I’ve been stuck in a rut for these last few years. And I spent a lot of that time internalising what might just as well be external issues. I’ve grown more fearful of change, it’s become harder for me to make big decisions and I constantly worry about failing. Now, all of this probably just means that I am a normal human being, just like you. But I feel it’s holding me back. It didn’t use to be like this.

What I think I’m saying is that, this new experience of not really having a home anywhere has triggered something. I’m not sure what that something is yet. But it feels big. Like a new adventure. And I think it’s about time.