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!

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.

If I were… III

I did this last year and am doing it again. I started fresh, trying not to be influenced by last year’s answers.

If I were

a month, i would be: September
a day of the week, i would be: Friday
a time of day, i would be: around 11:30 in the morning
a planet, i would be: Earth
a sea animal, i would be: a Harbour Seal
a direction, i would be: North-West
a piece of furniture, i would be: a cosy canopied built-in bed
a sin, i would be: Wrath
a liquid, i would be: sheep’s milk
a stone, i would be: Clear Crystal or Amber
a tree, i would be: a twisted oak on peaty ground
a bird, i would be: a crow or fat little sparrow
a tool, i would be: an Opinel knife
a flower/plant, i would be: moss
a kind of weather, i would be: a storm and the subsequent clear sky
a mythical creature, i would be: fae
a musical instrument, i would be: a bodhran or accordeon
an animal, i would be: a badger, an otter or a mouse
a colour, i would be: rusty red
a vegetable, i would be: oyster mushrooms
a sound, i would be: snow on dry, dead leaves and crackling bonfires
an element, i would be: Earth, and a bit of Fire
a car, i would be: a Morris Minor 1000 Traveller
a song, i would be: Ye Banks and Braes by The Real McKenzies
a movie, i would be directed by: Wes Anderson or Bryan Fuller
a book, i would be written by: Matt Ruff, Joan Aiken or Kevin Crossley-Holland
a food, i would be: Cinnamon Apple Rolls
a place, i would be: a mossy clearing near a sandy path through heather to the rocky coast
a material, i would be: raw unwashed wool straight from the sheep
a taste, i would be: mulled wine, drank in a castle kitchen
a scent, i would be: forest soil with a hint of turf
a religion, i would be: still Gaelic Polytheism
a word, i would be: luthier
an object, i would be: a teapot
a body part, i would be: hands
a facial expression, i would be: endless wonder
a subject in school, i would be: a do-what-makes-you-happy-as-long-as-it-is-creative art class
a cartoon character, i would be: Merida
a shape, i would be: a rhombus
a number, i would be: 19

I love to see how and where I’ve changed compared to last year. There are some things that are the same and some that are different, and most are just a little bit tweaked but still stay in the same… range. They feel similar. It feels good to see that some things have settled in my character but that I still grow and evolve, because that’s what life is all about in my book.

Would you have answered these questions differently this year, compared to last?
Feel free to fill in the list, too, I’d love to see your answers!

Changeling: The Dreaming

Disclaimer: This post deals with fantasy, RPGs and mental illness. If you don’t want to read about these things, please skip the post. And while I usually have no problems with critical comments I’d ask you not to post any this time. If you smirk at the thought of somebody thinking of magic and fairies as real in any way this might simply not be the post for you. If you find traces of yourself in this post you’re more than welcome to tell me in the comments, though!
(And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s my glossary)

My first run-in with Changeling: The Dreaming was during my third-or-so semester. Jule, the elfin one, started a chronicle that we sadly never finished due to the usual problem – everybody having different time-tables – but I was hooked nevertheless. I played a punk Boggan named Lilo who had a swearing winged rat familiar.
We tried again later, same problems, same fate, but the fascination stayed (I played an Eshu ethnologist with family ties to the Caribbean this time).

Ever since then this has been my favourite RPG background. Let me break it down for you why.

Changeling: The Dreaming is part of the World of Darkness, a number of storyteller settings that are set in a slightly gothier, darker version (also dubbed GothicPunk) of our word where vampires (Vampire: The Masquerade), werewolves (Werewolf: The Apocalypse), mummies (Mummy: The Resurrection), mages (Mage: The Ascension), ghosts (Wraith: The Oblivion) and a whole lot of other fantasy and horror creatures actually exist and battle each other over dominion in cities like Boston or Dublin or simply for their lives.

If that wasn’t cool enough as a setting, one of the many supernatural things are Changelings. Capital “C” because it’s important to me. To explain the whole Changeling thing I’ll have to go a bit further back in history, to the 12th century, to be precise. Oh, no, wait. Further. *tape rewinding noises*

Back in times long gone by, fae lived among mortals, created by those mortals’ dreams. They had sprung from dreams of perfection, nightmares of hunger, the idea of the thing that goes bump in the night, all sorts, really. Now, abandon the thought that fae are fairies. They are not. Not exactly.
There are many kinds of fae, also known as kithain. There are kith like the Sidhe – the shining host, the fae nobility, those who sprang from the dreams of perfection and beauty mentioned above – just imagine Tolkien elves, or the ones who kidnapped Tam Lin. There are Boggans, helpful household spirits, short and round and good, and Redcaps, the things that rose from the battlefields to dye their hats in the blood of the fallen, Mermaids, Trolls and many, many more. Every culture has its own set of “the good neighbors”, “the fair folk”, “the wee people” (even though they might be taller than your average human), and those are what we call fae in this case.
But back to the story.
When man discovered iron, though, cold iron, no less, something broke. It became easier to tame the world, and with the taming of the world the dreams and the believing in the fae faded. At some point (and here we are in the 12th century again) there was just not enough glamour, not enough dreamstuff left to sustain all fae and even the pathways into the Dreaming and to Arcadia, the fae lands of myth and legend, began to crumble.
The fae nobility managed to escape the dawning catastrophe, most of them, anyway, but the commoners were left to their own devices. They adapted, and what became of that was the Changeling Way.
Their fae souls – immortal as they were – were born again in human bodies into human families, sheltered from the growing banality of the world within two sets of armour against it: the mortal coil and a human soul around the fae one. If they were lucky their fae soul would awaken at some point of the human life, showing them a world much deeper and more fantastic than they could have imagined. The fae soul would have merged with the human soul and it would have been their lot to balance these two souls to neither slip into bedlam nor banality.
If not, they were simply born into another human body after the first one had lived its life, into another chance for their fae soul to re-emerge.
Now, about 800 years passed since this Shattering. Then, in 1969, humanity reached a goal so lofty, so filled with dreams, so eagerly watched by so many, that a wave of glamour swept over the globe: The Moon landing. The gates to the Dreaming burst open once again and the fae nobility, the Shining Host, returned in all its glory.
And all was fine and well again.

Except it wasn’t. Banality was still a thing. The struggle to maintain the balance between fae and mortal soul was still a thing and getting harder and harder every century. Which brings us up to now: The nobility has adapted as well, the gates to Arcadia, the fae utopia, are closed once more, Changelings all over the world are nurturing dreams and inspiration, and the fight for the survival of faekind is still going on. No wonder, if you look at the world around us.

That’s a nice story, you might say now, but why is it so important to you? It’s just another RPG background.

Because Changeling gave me sort of an explanation. For the first time in a long time I felt like I had found something that resonated deeply within me and made things clearer. It might be a metaphor, but I’m a Changeling. I walk the fine line between banality and bedlam and most of the time I don’t feel fully human. I rarely basically never talk about my mental illnesses here on the blog but Changeling offered me a way to accept myself more than before, to see that, if I define myself as a Changeling, a fae soul inside a mortal body, a lot of things made more sense all of a sudden. Why my emotions seemed too big for my body so often, why the state of the world made me so terrified and sad that I fell into catatonic states now and then, why I have seemed weird and strange to others my entire life, and why I sometimes am really baffled and confused by norms of human society.

I don’t say that you have to be mentally ill to understand the appeal of Changeling: The Dreaming, and I don’t say that every mentally ill person is actually a fae soul in a human body (there are vampires and mages and so forth as well! Joking, folks, joking). I just try to explain why this background means so much to me and how it helped me to cope (in a therapist-approved way, even) with some of my problems.

There’s also the balance between the Seelie and the Unseelie side that every Changeling has to find that makes a lot of sense to me. Seelie is not necessarily good and Unseelie not necessarily evil (many people try to simplify it like that, one of my biggest pet peeves), it’s far more difficult to explain. It isn’t even lawful and chaotic, more like dutiful and passionate, both which are good and important but can turn nasty in a heartbeat.

I think what I want to say is that I love how the game actually manages to do exactly what its goal is in-game: Bringing glamour and magic into a grey, drab world, inspiring to look further than our own shoe tips. How it changes the perspective of how we view places and people, how it concentrates on the beauty of the soul and the idea instead of only the physical appearance but still encourages to create beauty in our everyday life, lest our fae souls wither.

I love this background because it tugs on my very heartstrings, because it makes me want to gather my fellow changelings for adventure, because it makes me want to share my ideas with the world and hope that they might inspire someone to create something themselves, producing glamour, or fairy dust, or simply put: the rawest form of magic.

I’m a Changeling, here to save the world from banality or burn out into bedlam trying.
Anyone up for a game?