NaNoWriMo 2017 | Why I am still writing?

It’s November again and with it NaNoWriMo, right after Inktober (don’t worry, I’ll update on that, too, well, at some point…), another “creative obligation”, another month full of “I have to do this”. Sounds stressful, right? And it kind of was during the last seven years. I just checked. This is my eighth year of NaNoWriMo. I’ve written more than just one post about this, too.

During the last few years I drowned myself in research and worldbuilding and character creation, wrote furiously during class and at home and made it to 50k. Exactly once. In seven years.

Isn’t this discouraging?, are you going to ask, to write just without any proper motivation but this goal and then not even meet it? To pour so much creativity and energy into this for a whole month that you can’t really do much else?

What’s more, by now I have a regular job and three days of the week I just keel over and fall asleep as soon as I come home. I have historical dancing at least every two weeks, Pathfinder every Wednesday and some kind of social life and other projects, too, surprisingly (no, really). I can’t even go to the meet-ups on weekends because that’s when I work and afterwards I just want to get home and shower and sleep. Writing 1667 words a day seems impossible for me right now. But still I signed up, still I “announced my novel” which means that I filled out some blanks and decided on what I wanted to write this year. Still I checked my “Writing Buddies” just to find that most of them are inactive nowadays. Even writing this makes me look at myself and question if I’m not delusional, why do I do this? My boyfriend sighed when I said “It’s NaNo again” during breakfast on one of the first days of the month because he knows how I invested I was during the last years and how crushed when I didn’t meet my word goals for a day and how disillusioned when I eventually gave up and didn’t write anymore at all for the rest of the month.

This all sounds terribly bleak. It sounds faded and desaturated and bad and exhausting. But let me add a bit more colour. Let me add the sunshine. And the reasons why after all this bleakness I still write.

I love a good challenge.

I love Inktober, MerMay, NaNoWriMo, 30 Question blog post challenges, you name it. I rarely follow through, having about the attention span of a raven or crow (quite intense at times, but still easily distracted), but I love them and jump at them at every opportunity I see. They give me a weird sense of purpose that I sometimes lack (but sometimes not, sometimes I manage to create my own). They give me direction for my scatterbrain. They give me the chance to put out my creativity for others to kind-of-see, within a somewhat socially accepted setting. And I admit that I stressed myself out on this during the last years, which wasn’t exactly the healthiest thing I could do.

But this year I write for myself. Only myself. I’m writing some kind of non-fiction this year for the first time (but maybe it’s fictional non-fiction, who knows) which I’m having a ball with. I write because I want to and I’m proud of every bit of progress I make, proving (mainly to myself) that I can still write and be creative and join these challenges without the drive to win, despite work, despite social things, despite mental troubles. Because I refuse to say, “I don’t have time for this anymore”. I refuse to give in to the concept of the working adult person dragging themself to work and social events and then crashing on the sofa just watching something semi-clever while drifting off to sleep. Not that I don’t do that once in a while, and I love drifting off to sleep while something runs in the background, but this is not what this is about. This is about me denying banality to crush me. This is about me still writing, maybe only five words a day, maybe 2k on another because inspiration hit me and granted me the energy to write on even though I’ve been awake for 16 hours already because of early working hours. Because it’s every single word that counts. Because I need to give Inspiration (capital I) the chance to find me, to find something to come to. I want to create and I need to create or I’d feel horrible. Believe me, I tried. And it sucked.

Sure, call me stubborn. Call me delusional. Call me stupid. Call me to ask, “why are you still doing this even though you know you can’t possibly make it to 50k until the end of the month”. I barely care.

I write because I want my words to come out. Because I can coax them onto the white sheet of my OpenOffice document and get them to stay and evolve into ideas that I might someday be able to share, that might in turn inspire others. I write because I’m a dreamer, because I am a believer in the power of Inspiration and Creativity and the fact that even if you’ve got an eight-hour workday behind you you can still do it. It doesn’t really look like it yet, but eh, somebody’s gotta try it. Everything was impossible until someone came along who didn’t know and just did it. My stubbornness is good. My stubbornness is something that keeps me from plunging into darkness and banality and depression far more than I already do (well, mostly darkness and depression).

Writing is a ray of sunshine, a twinkle of a star, as is every creative endeavour. It is there to inspire you further, to create for yourself, not just for the achievement or others, even though that’s perfectly valid, too.

This is about 1k worth of words now. See, writing just works, somehow. Be it here or on that doc that I’m going back to now because today I have a free day aside from social things I’m looking forward to.

I love you. All of you.

(P.S.: TL; DR: Because I wanna)

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Mori Challenge Revisited: Question 7

Are you also into Lolita? I find a lot of Mori Girls do Lolita as well! Whether you are or aren’t a Lolita, why do you think this is?

To be honest I started this blog because of Lolita. Without Lolita I probably wouldn’t have tapped into my girlier side and wouldn’t have found Mori Kei in the first place.

Mori Challenge: Mori and LolitaI think in a strange way Lolita and Mori Kei come from the same idea, from the same feeling. Of course there is also the fashions’ respective history to begin with, both are Japanese street fashion styles, both are inspired by frilly, girly, gentle vintage things. Compare old-school country Lolita and old-school Mori Kei, there are more than just a few similarities.

Both are fashions that intrigue people who don’t exactly want to curry favour with the male gaze or the ever-present sexualisation or rather erotisation of modern fashion and looks. Both are relatively modest when it comes to cleavage and hemlines, both are not into screaming colours or silhouettes that follow the lines of the body too closely. I’d even go as far as to call both of them somewhat escapist fashions.

Wait, you’ll say now, escapist? Aren’t you taking thing a bit far?
Alright, maybe escapist isn’t the right word. But both fashions make at least me feel… like I’m in a cocoon of lace and frills and ruffles and softness. For me (who is still hung up on old-school Lolita, to be honest) both have a gentleness to them, something not as rigid as many modern “mainstream” styles. Something to show the world that the wearer isn’t necessarily of it, more like a drifting fairy tale person, someone who is merely visiting, gracing the mortal world with their sometimes strange and outweirding presence. Both are styles to curl up and read classics in, or watch silly movies about princesses and girls in pretty dresses or in secret gardens. They have so much in common, in inspiration as well als looks.

Both are, in a strange way, for me somewhat dystopian. Both are a denial of the harshness of our world, one tries to flee this banality by donning the clothes of children of times long gone and royalty that never was while the other runs into the woods, torn lace trailing behind them. Both don’t feel quite right in the middle of all the grey and pollution and bees dying and noise and one-calamity-chasing-the-other news broadcasts.

Both offer us a refuge from the harshness of reality because the layers and layers of ruffles soften the blows of all that “real life” throws at us.

And that’s perfectly alright.

This post is part of the 30 Question Mori Kei Challenge. For other posts from this challenge, please look here for all the questions!

Zero Waste Guilt Trip

I’m great at guilt-tripping myself. If guilt-tripping yourself was a competitive sport I could well be a professional player on national level. Which isn’t a good thing, by the way. It sucks.

Sadly the whole litter problem isn’t an exception to this massively unfortunate talent of mine. I am always not good enough. There is always something where I’m willing to sacrifice an option with less single-use plastic for my own comfort and afterwards I’ll beat myself up for it, first for not choosing the plastic free option, then for allowing myself this luxury, then for being angry at myself for allowing myself this luxury. It actually follows me through the day then because I’m really really bad at letting things go that I’ve done wrong (or think that I have done wrong).

Urbex: Emptied | HedgefairyStrangely in a world of “treat yo’self” and general indulgence it’s surprisingly easy to feel in the wrong for material choices. For some it’s veganism, for other it’s trends, for me it’s sustainability, plastic avoidance and general eco-friendliness that I am trying to achieve but feel like I horribly fail with.

I just can’t keep a capsule wardrobe. I’ve tried but I am too vain to be content with so little choice.

I keep buying my favourite vegetarian jelly dinos even though they are packaged in plastic and are sugary and therefore also unhealthy.

I was too lazy/tired/hurty to go to the supermarket further away and bought plastic-packaged yoghurt out of convenience.

I’m still not as good as [insert sustainability/zero waste blogger here].

I know that most of this is utter bullshit. So what if I can’t keep a capsule wardrobe (more on that soon, the post is already in the making), most of my clothes are thrifted anyway. So I allow myself to slip up for my favourite treat once in a while. That’s okay. So I didn’t go the extra ten minutes to the other supermarket. Who cares.
The thing is, even typing this feels horrible. I have this stupid, unhealthy urge to save the world all by myself, to eradicate single-use plastic (and banality, while we’re at it) as a one-woman superhero team.
The thing is, that’s absolutely unrealistic.

We live in an age where we can’t really go without plastic if we still want to stay connected to the world around us. My phone, my tablet, my laptop, my means of communication are all made of plastic. My rain coat is made of some kind of non-natural fiber. I take a plastic bottle with me to work because glass would be so much heavier, and I also use it when I go swimming because I’m afraid of a glass bottle slipping from my hands, covering the floor in shards (and I’m not even sure if glass bottles are allowed inside our local indoor pool). I can’t get feta cheese without plastic and it’s literally not possible to get non-plastic packaged toilet paper here in Germany (there used to be a brand in the 90s that packaged in paper, I remember that from my childhood). And I kind of refuse to switch to reusable toilet cloths because even my eco-friendliness has its bounds.

Rust | HedgefairyThe thing is that I try. And I have to learn that trying and being happy about my personal progress is better than trying and beating me up about not being perfect.
The thing is that there are so many tiny triumphs to be celebrated that if I actually celebrated them I wouldn’t even have time to beat myself up.
The thing is that I should just do that.

So here are my tiny triumphs from the last few weeks:

Seeing Rusty switch from bottled water to a refillable glass bottle for work.
Learning that yes, I still have single use plastic but it’s mere 150g in one week!
Finding a milk packaging made of 40% chalk which makes for less dead dinosaur-based packaging than your usual milk crate.
Re-using the waxed paper from our farmer’s market cheese.
Getting through my menstrual cycles without any “female hygiene” (just call it menstruation, ffs!) product waste.
Avoiding the offered plastic-and-paper bags at the supermarket’s baked goods isle once more by just stuffing the bread into my normal, washable canvas bag.
Collecting litter in the park during a walk after a grumpy cashier at the supermarket purposely overheard my “I don’t need a bag, thank you” for my one bagel-without-anything-on-it. With said bag.

Sure, nothing among those things count as world-shattering. But they still count, and they still make me happy. I’ll have to concentrate on that instead of making me relive my slip-ups again and again and again. I’m currently at my Mum’s and I’m going to make produce bags for her trips to the supermarket because she doesn’t have the time to but I do. And that’s another triumph.

I’m fed up with beating myself up for not being the perfect zero-waste blogger or a shining example of sustainability. I’m doing my best and that’s a pretty good thing to do. And I hope you don’t feel bad, either.

What tiny triumphs have you had lately, sustainability-wise or other? I want to read about them in the comments!

Let’s count our blessings, not our curses!

Pictures are a teaser from my latest urbexing trip. More to come!

The Mori Guides (and how they re-kindled my love for the style, kind of)

My Mori Journal | HedgefairyIn my latest 10 Things post I listed a post series from tumblr called More Kei Guides (part 1|part 2|part 3). In part one the author, Tumblr user Baaikha, suggests writing a list full of reasons and inspirations for one’s personal foray into the fashion and lifestyle, and of course I obliged (who doesn’t love filling out questionnaires like this?).

My Mori Journal | HedgefairyThis is what my list looked like – the guide specifically asked for pen and paper instead of electronics. And while I read and thought and wrote I noticed how much I had missed Mori Kei in all it’s variations. I missed the tenderness, the inspiration it brought me, the focused life choices. It made me miss all the sources I drew inspiration from, too, for my coordinates and lifestyle ideas – Anne of Green Gables, the mice of Brambly Hedge, Sarah Kay, among many more.

I had never really fallen out of love with Mori Kei. There were just so many other things occupying my mind and the space where what I inaptly call my “mori senses” used to be. A community full of introverts (with me among them) and a retreat from online life for a while didn’t exactly help, either. My once-passionate love had been reduced to glowing embers, not yet gone, but on their way there.

My Mori Journal | HedgefairyThe Mori Guides managed to fan those embers back into flames. Not a big, roaring (forest, haha) fire but a comfy hearth fire, what would be the balefire of a Boggan freehold in my beloved Changeling: The Dreaming.

Speaking of dreaming, I’m back in reveries about picnics and crochet lace again, reenacting scenes from my favourite children’s classics. But at the same time I dream of untamed adventures, rugged edges and wild storms. All those things are part of nature, of my nature, too. I’m thinking about incorporating my love for punk into my longings for ruffles and plant dye. I’m pondering the accessory choices of mermaids that rob drowned sailors’ graves. There is also the thought of tomboy adventures while still wearing dreamy things. I don’t know yet where this picked-up-again journey will lead me, fashion- and lifestyle-wise. What I do know is that I want to be part of this beautiful community of forest – make that general wilderness, another thing that keeps my thoughts on this busy at the moment – dwellers again, be they satyrs, forest trolls or dryads.

Have you ever found yourself falling back in love with a style (or a lifestyle)? It surely happens to me every once in a while…

This Hiatus wasn’t a planned One.

It never is.
Chronicle FlowersLong story short, I had a major depressive phase that lasted longer and was a deeper hole I fell into than I expected in the first place.
sunset to mythodeaI rarely talk about my mental issues here on the blog so if you don’t know me off the web the whole me-and-a-depression thing might be a somewhat new thought for you. Anyway, I managed to keep going these past weeks. I went to work, I finished commissions, I hung out with friends  – well, Scoundrel and Rusty, to whom both I’m really grateful for being there for me during the last month.
GrohmThere was just no energy left for blogging (Or vlogging. Or just keeping up with subscribed channels, reading other blogs or maintaining the Changeling forum…) after I somehow maintained my daily life.
RosemaryI had to turn down an invitation I’d really looked forward to rather last-minute because of all of this, having to cancel my bus tickets the same day they were booked for thanks to the lack of any emotion that felt valid. I felt like something you’d dragged out of the sewer. I didn’t do anything outside my home except for work and to immerse myself in Rusty’s bathtub (because I have fantastic friends who let me borrow their bathtubs) while he was out for the night.
The ExperimenterI neglected all means of communication save for those messages that I had to answer or write, like to my boss or for organisational LARP stuff. Chronicles of Mythodea had me out of my slump for a few days and full of joy and adrenaline but afterwards the black hole and the emotional equivalent of watching white wall paint dry came back with full force.
Evacuation SquirrelEventually one of my favourite YouTubers announced a break from the platform. Finally I realised that I was taking a break myself because I needed it before I could produce content again, and by that I mean content that wouldn’t feel forced of half-hearted.
LichenI’m not sure if I’ve ever been absent for this long from this blog – through all previous troubles I’ve just kept on writing and taking pictures and posting and eventually the depression would fade again, as it always does.

I’ve been described as a ray of sunshine more than once, and that’s what I want to be. Depression dims my shine from time to time and then I’ve got to recharge. And that’s what I did.
Thanks for your patience while the clouds passed by.
I’m a fucking ray of sunshine, and I’m back, stronger and warmer and merrier than before.

It feels good to shine again.