Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Highly Sensitive

Hello. I'm a so called "Highly Sensitive Person". HSP.

This concept has been widely popular for some time now, because of Dr. Elaine Aron's research and her book The Highly Sensitive Person and all the books that came out after that. I, like many other highly sensitive people, read that book some years ago, and felt like a large part of me was really, deeply understood for the first time in my life. I cried many times while I was reading that book. It just made so much sense, and there were so many things in it I hadn't been able to put into words, especially when I was a child, and now this book was doing it for me.

I'm also really pissed sometimes.

Not at anything that has anything to do with the book(s). I love everything I've gained from reading Dr. Aron's work.

However, now that the topic has been really popular, and almost everyone has heard about it (Which is great in itself of course!) I really don't like how it gets treated. I often hear people commenting something (irl and online) either about being HSP or how they perceive people who are like that, and most of the time their opinions are Highly Misinformed.

Some of the things I've heard people say go somewhere along the lines:

"I hate being a HSP! My moods change all the time, and I can't stand it!"

"I'm, like, really HSP, I cry all the time."

"I just don't get along with people because I'm a HSP."

"I don't have energy because I'm a HSP."

"This HSP shit is bs. It's not my responsibility to avoid people's triggers."

"HSP. The new word for people with Special Snowflake Syndrome."

"Now there's a word for being weak and over-emotional."

Um, 'kay.

So... after hearing so much of this, I feel like sharing my two cents about what being highly sensitive is, what it isn't, and how I personally experience it.

1. Sensitive  emotional

Some people seem to think that everyone who has a hard time dealing with their emotions, cries a lot, feels strongly about things, feels intense emotions, likes drama in their life, or is somehow emotionally unstable, is highly sensitive.

Well, no.

I'm highly sensitive, and I'm not "emotional". On the contrary. One of the things about me, that many people are impressed about is how stable and calm I am. I've also been called rational and, a "problem solver".

No, I will not blow up at you at the slightest critique. You don't have to choose your words any more carefully with me, than you would with anyone you treat with normal amount of respect.

I will, however, understand your feelings very well. I can imagine them vividly even if I haven't been in a similar situation myself.

Also, intense emotions will overwhelm me. I will not be watching a World War II movie with multiple torture scenes with you.

2. It's about Sensory-Processing Sensitivity.

It means you process everything deeply. Not just emotions. It essentially means you see, hear, taste, feel, and overall experience more subtleties and take in more information from your environment than average.

This is why HSPs get overwhelmed and tired in intense environments faster than others. But no, it doesn't mean that we'll fall apart and cry in a corner until someone picks us up. Something like that is definitely not normal, and if anyone acts like that, they need help. We will most likely just seem a little tired, absent-minded, or mentally out of reach.

Of course it's possible that we're quicker to cry when we're really overwhelmed. But that's true of anyone!

Still remember that WWII movie? The reason I'm not watching it with you is not that I'm weaker. It's because I feel it stronger than you. If you felt like you were being tortured yourself while watching it, and the memory would come back to haunt you for weeks after the movie, you wouldn't watch it either.

3. It's biological.

This isn't made up. It's not new. Highly sensitive individual's nervous system works differently. Scientists have found this trait in a lot more species than just humans, and judge it to serve a purpose for the survival of the species.

Because highly sensitive individuals are more aware of subtleties, notice small changes and take longer to make decisions, they have their own role in protecting their group by preventing danger.

Visit Dr. Elaine Aron's site for more information.

4. I love being a HSP!

I don't believe it's really something you can hate in itself. If you "hate being HSP" because you have mood swings or something, then it's not really being HSP that you hate, and you might not even be highly sensitive. You could be of course, but not because you have mood swings. Those don't have anything to do with being highly sensitive. Any sentence that starts with "I hate being HSP..." is likely followed by something else that is wrong in the person's life.

If you're highly sensitive, and generally satisfied with life, then there are likely many things that you appreciate about being the way you are.

First of all, I love my inner life. My imagination. My ability to create paracosms and imagine up life-like characters, places and scenarios. I'm never, ever bored, because I always have some place to go, even if for the moment I'm physically forced to stay somewhere I don't want to be.

I love how my appreciation for the things around me never runs out. Simple sunlight on grass, a person with a gentle voice or a shirt made of soft fabric is going to make me very happy. In general, I feel like I need things to be much lower "volume" to enjoy them, than most people around me. (Whether it's about music or something else.) Sure, it's a little lonely sometimes. Sure, it means I also can't stand as high "volume" as others. But generally I love my ability to see more in less.

Also, we're not that rare. I have highly sensitive friends who understand, and it's great to share the experiences we enjoy and the details in life other people look past.

5. Sensitivity isn't measured in tears.

There are many reason why someone cries more than someone else. Some are physiological. Crying easily doesn't necessarily mean you're highly sensitive.

Being highly sensitive just means you're moved by more subtle things that the average person.

6. You shouldn't be tired all the time.

Being a HSP is not a lack of energy. We have just as much energy as anyone else. We just get tired faster by certain kind of activities and environments. But it doesn't mean we have any less energy if we can direct it to things we're comfortable with.

If I was tired all the time, I wouldn't think it's because I'm highly sensitive. I'd think it's because I need a life style change. It would be because I hadn't taken the time to take care of my needs (as a highly sensitive person, too), not essentially because I'm highly sensitive. That kind of thinking implies we don't have any control over our lives.

7. Not special

We are not special, and don't suffer from Special Snowflake Syndrome. We're not trying to make you see us as "different" for attention. It's just a fact that we differ from about 80% of people in a significant area. Most people probably are the minority in something.

So, being empowered by things that are easier for us because of the way we are, or sometimes feeling lonely or misunderstood because of the things that aren't as easy for us as they are to the majority, isn't attention seeking. It's understandable.

Sure, someone might use the label for attention. But that's not our fault, as a group.

8. "Why does this matter it's not about me!"

That's essentially what people are saying when they claim that being highly sensitive is not really a thing. Sure, if you're a jerk I guess you can't be expected to care about anything that has anything to do with someone other than you.

But really, learning about sensitivity doesn't mean that you have to give some special treatment to highly sensitive people. That's not what we're asking for. In fact, we're not asking for anything.

We're just happy that there are concepts and language to explain our experience! So that we can better communicate with people who are cool enough to care about things that don't necessarily have anything to do with them, and want to understand other people to make relationships smoother.

So, if you are a jerk, and don't want to change, and are happy the way you are, I don't have a message for you.

But if you are someone who cares about other people and your personal relationships with them, then I do recommend learning about sensitivity. Because it's likely that you have highly sensitive people in your circles, and understanding where they're coming from might do miracles for your communication.

Okay, one more thing!!

I'm not saying any of this because I want to promote some kind of HSP elitism.

The reason I'm saying that being emotional, tired or moody isn't the same as being a HSP isn't because I have some kind of ego issue, like I don't want to be associated with being emotional or something like that! This is not the purpose of this post.

I'm saying all this because if you think you're a HSP for the wrong reasons, IT'S NOT REALLY GOING TO HELP YOU.

This isn't some neat title. It's research that is supposed to be helpful in people's lives. Even if you ARE a HSP, and you blame all your problems on being that way, it's not going to help you! Especially if the problem in someone's life is something big that needs treatment, like a mental disorder, but they're only looking for help from the concept of high sensitivity, it's not going to help them. Because being a HSP is not essentially a PROBLEM. It's a personality trait and it isn't good or bad in itself, but it has both negative and positive aspects, depending on the situation. Using it as an explanation for all the problems in your life isn't helpful. And I've seen thinking like this around so much.

I really wish that people who need help, would get it. So if you have someone in your life who talks about being highly sensitive, and after reading this, you feel like you've been misinformed about what being highly sensitive is, because this person acts moody, or reckless, or doesn't seem that happy in life... maybe consider informing them about the difference too, and encourage them to look for help in the things that are actually bothering them.

Thank you for reading this far. I hope you got some food for thought.

Photos ©  Josefina S

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Blog survey for writers: 9. How do you get ideas for your characters?

My process of creating characters is very much unconscious, but they are usually one of the first ideas I have for a story's world. I'm conscious of someone being there, that I'm looking at this new paracosm through the eyes of someone specific, an individual. If you know about MBTI and cognitive functions, it has been said that for INFJs the creative process is often unconscious and that's why they feel almost like they aren't responsible for what they create.

Well, that happens to be exactly the case for me. I don't feel like I'm doing anything to create my characters. One day they just are there. It's like they already exist, they catch my interest. Some theme, or incident, or something made my mind wander where they already were and that's why I could find them.

It's almost like meeting a person in this reality. What I know first might be things like their name, their looks, the general air about them, their biggest obsession or how they treat other people. Something like that. To know more, I have to get to know them, either by perceiving, interacting, or listening them tell me.

Fictional characters are like that too. I have to write their story to get to know them in a level as deep as I desire to.

The characters are my window to their world and their story. While I learn about their world and story through their eyes, I also learn about them according to the world around them. When the story has been in my mind for a long time, I usually have a good idea about my character's reactions and opinions about things, but even so, to know what the character is going to do in a specific situation, I always have to write it. It's not uncommon for my character to make a completely different decision in their story, from what I thought they would, because I couldn't yet see all the variables that affected the character's decision in the specific scenario that I ended up writing.

So, as you can probably guess I'm one big discovery writer. I try to outline sometimes, with big projects, but I can't help it, it never turns out like the outline! It's just impossible to know exactly what the characters are going to do before the story actually gets there!

So, in short my characters seem to come to me out of nowhere, and they get fleshed out in writing only.

However, I'm not that unconscious of my internal processes anymore, that I would believe the characters actually come out of nowhere. I guess it would be more accurate to say that by brain synthesizes them from all the knowledge I have gathered about human mind, behavior, personality etc. Knowing this, I still feel like they are more than the sum of their parts.

I guess how I think that differs from some other styles of creating a character, is that I still don't consciously create them. I don't make lists of their interests or characteristics, or family backgrounds, I let those things come to me in the story. I don't plan their role in the story from beginning to end, I let that unfold before me. I also don't get my ideas from any specific source, like a person I know. I don't base the characters on anyone.

(Well, I have, a couple of times, when I was requested to do so, but even then, deep down, I never thought that the character was that person, just similar to them in some major aspects, so the character ended up being their own person anyway and having characteristics the inspiration didn't have and making decisions they never would have. I think it would be very hard for me the recreate someone entirely, because my mind just isn't wired that way. Fictional characters are as unique to me as "real" people.)

Even though there are no specific sources where my character would spring from, there definitely are specific thoughts or ideas that come to my head, and because I was thinking them, these characters specifically came to me, and not some other characters. Let's take an obvious example: I never would've written an explicitly asexual character if I hadn't discovered asexuality. That's pretty straightforward. But how I think the characters come to me, is a process of more subtle and smaller thoughts and ideas.

In the end, it's a web. It's impossible to say, whether the character is like this because the story needed them to be that way for me to be able to tell it, or if the story is that way, because the character couldn't have made any other choices because of who they are. Everything is connected to everything. It's a whole, more than the answer of a math equation. The character, and the story.

Sometimes, of course, I can pin point that "I probably ended up writing a character who had this trait because I had seen or heard this thing." But that's not the norm. Most often I couldn't tell which came first, the egg or the chicken. I think the human brain is capable of so much more than A-> B -> C kind of thinking. I think it's more often that all these things that are enough for the character to be a person, just come to me at the same time. Or that this thing and that thing that resonated with an outside thing were already in me, and they together resulted in a character, so it's impossible to say which one was the main reason, or there first, or the last nail.

I'm rambling.

Let's look at some characters.

This is Gemma. She only came to me in one sentence, one encounter with one of the main characters. She was not pleasant at all, and I wasn't that interested in her in the beginning, but then it became apparent to me why she acted the way she did and how her life story had led her to that point, and she became one of the dearest faces to me in that world.

This is Sierra. She started out as a sick girl I didn't really know because she spent most of the time sleeping. But when she got better she became an important part of the story, and her story is everything but finished, so I continue to learn new things about her personality. 

These are Cherry and Forrest. I needed a detective who would be unable to solve the crime, and a detective who could, and these two came to me. Their individual strengths and weakness determined how the mystery unfolded.

This is Ririn. She's the character who was actually based on someone, but soon enough started to live her own life and oh my, did her and her friends adventures become a long story.

Derek is one of the characters that I can't say I like, but for some reason he insists on appearing in the story, over and over again. What can I do.

Hart is one of my most beloved characters. He's in a story with multiple viewpoint characters but he's sort of my default viewpoint, and I love looking at the other characters through his warm, fatherly, if often misguided eyes.

I guess what I'm saying is I discover characters in different points of the story and my initial thoughts about them may not always be right or fair to them. But I'll always get to know them more when I write more.

I love that they keep surprising me.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Blog survey for writers: 8. What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

So, I guess I'm back from a year's hiatus. I didn't plan it, and I have no other excuse than I didn't feel like blogging. My last year of university was eventful, sometimes a little too much so, and my attention was everywhere else but this blog. But, I have graduated now, with a master's degree in theology. Maybe I will write a couple of blog posts about last year, to finally process what has happened, but this time I'm starting with something simple and totally inside my comfort zone.

So, continuing my old survey:

My favorite genre to write and read falls somewhere in the realm of speculative fiction. It's fantasy-esque, SF-esque, historical-esque, mystery-esque, and preferably more like an exploration of characters and relationships, often a little lighter on the plot side (not always) than a fast paced and action packed thriller. I enjoy freedom and room for interpretation with things like time and place, but am meticulous with characterization and interaction.

I guess I could just call it fantasy, but that would be misleading. Because I'm not necessarily into it for the things most often associated with the fantasy genre. Sure, I sometimes enjoy world building, but I prefer to let it a bit more (sometimes a lot more) loose than most fantasy does. And I love magic, but my attention is more in coming up with everyday uses of it, small and handy stuff, than epic world shaking spells. That being said, I do go against these preferences from time to time.

I guess my genre could be called something like "elaborate fairy tale". Haha. Since I don't know if there is an actual word for the subgenre I mostly write in. I would guess no, since I don't think I find books like mine sitting on every other corner. Or maybe I am always looking from the wrong places. I would like to read more stories from this narrow category... In that aspect I'm pretty simple. I like to read what I like to write.

Here's a picture from my most fantasy-loyal story, to describe what most of my stories are like. The character is the only clearly defined thing, and the focus of the story. Everything else is the background, symbolic, up for interpretation and even surrealistic.

If you have any books in mind that sound like this, would you please be kind enough to point me in their direction? Thank you!

Friday, 30 December 2016


Warning: This might not be interesting.

Let's have a quick look into my hair past:

Age: ?
Age: 11
Age: 14
Age: 17
Age: 19
Age: 21
Age: 22
November 2016
December 2016


So, um...

For the first time in my life I'm not blond. I've finally dyed my hair for the first time.

I know this may not seem like such a big deal, but it kind of is for me.

Because the most "radical" thing I've done with my hair before this is like:

Wearing an extension for 3-4 times in high school (but not AT school).
Getting an asymmetrical haircut.

And the most "notable" thing about my hair has probably been how it looks in the morning:

At least my roommate gets a laugh out of it.

So maybe in this light, dyeing my hair so dark seems at least a bit more radical?

The truth is, as a child, I wanted black hair for as long as I can remember. (I know, the grass is always greener...) But, no one around me was supportive of that idea. As a child, I didn't have guts to dye it anyway. I was way too concerned about what other people thought was appropriate.

When I was 12, my mom let me try one black stripe. We dyed it at home, and, of course it turned out purple, not black. (I think my mom knew my hair was too light for that dye, but didn't tell me so I would believe I couldn't dye my hair black...) And then, the next day I went to school my friend actually screamed when she saw me. "What have you done to your beautiful blond hair?!?"

I had just convinced myself that the purple stripe was kind of neat, so that didn't encourage me much. The colour faded away in a week.

Eventually I figured out it wouldn't turn out purple if I went to a hair dresser, so I started asking people what they would say if I dyed my hair black. Basically everyone rejected the idea right away and said I would look like a ghost.

The truth is, they were probably right. I was always the palest person wherever I went, and my noexistent eyebrows and facial features probably wouldn't have helped.

So, after a while I was convinced I could never have black hair and learned to appreaciate what nature had given me THE END.

Well, I didn't really have anything against blond hair in the first place, but I guess I did eventually learn to love it better than I did as a child. And it definitely feels better now that I didn't dye my hair because I hated my natural colour. I dyed it because I just felt like doing it.

Sometime ago, a year-ish, I think, my roommate (who is also naturally blond) and I started talking about dyeing our hair, because we both were kind of fed up with this "good girl" label that people so often put on blond girls. (At least in Finland, where it's a common colour.)

She'd been interested in trying out red hair for some time, and so we started talking about it more. At first it was: "IF I dyed my hair, it would be dark/red. "Then it became: "Someday, I'll dye my hair dark/red." So, then we finally decided we were going to do it. Because when exactly is "someday"?


The thing is, I'm not exactly as pale anymore as I was as a child. I'm still pale, but I no longer look anemic.

And I draw my eyebrows on now, so my face has a lot more expression on it than back then.

I still figured black was too intense, but I came up with a nice compromise. I dyed my hair dark brown, only two shades away from black.

It looks black on me, doesn't it?

So my friend also has now red hair. Very deep burgundy. It looks amazing. Apparently this kind of change is rare enough that we were the event of the day at the salon!

Even the customers came to compliment our new styles.

And no one said I look like a ghost.

Everyone said I look like Snow White.

Happy New Year everyone. I guess this is part of my celebration.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

What I've been doing

I don't know if I have so regular readers that anyone would really notice I've been gone the whole autumn... but I'm writing this post for my own reflection. I've been so busy and so much has happened that I need to digest it better than I've been able to, since I can finally breath (for three weeks) now that it's Christmas time. So I'll just list the things I find important.

Wrote a book

I've never written a book this fast, in two months, and given how busy I was with other stuff, I was pretty amazed that I actually did it. (I had a deadline for a competition, so I guess that helped.) It usually takes me about a year to write a book. I take a lot of time pondering, rewriting all the time before the first draft is anywhere near complete, doodling the characters and having fun in the world I'm writing in. But this time I just wrote without even reading much of what I'd written in the previous day, and it still turned out surprisingly coherent. It's a comtemporary YA novel set in high school, and it's mostly about identity struggles.

I have a bad tendency to hate my writing exactly at the moment I'm supposed to submit it somewhere. It didn't happen with this one. I'm kind of worried it's only because I didn't have enough time to be critical about it, but... I guess it's still worth it. The feeling that you're still in love with what you're submitting. I honestly still love the book. What's also weird is, that it's in a different way than before. I usually have a really hard time parting with the characters. I want to write more about them, even though the story is done, and I know writing more would only lead to bad and unnecessary sequels. But with this one I was just completely satisfied with the story I'd written for these characters and didn't feel like I'd need to write more. I love these characters but just one book is okay. How odd.

A doodle of my protagonist.

I have to confess though, that I did run into some interesting side characters, who only appear once or twice in the story but I got so interested in them, that I'm planning their own books for them now.

Anyway, it's nice to know now that I can write rather fast when I want to. I might just do it again. :D

Participated in two writing competitions

So yeah, the other one was mentioned above. And I think the ”participating in a competition” part was and is probably always going to be harder for me than the writing the book part. I guess in a way it's easier than just submitting to a publisher (we don't use agents in Finland) because you have a deadline. It's very hard for me to decide something is ready enough for professional eyes so a deadline helps. But only kind of. It still feels like it's never ready enough, and I always should've edited it more and more.

And writing a synopsis. That's amazingly hard for me. I didn't write the book so that I could squeeze it into two pages, you know? I wrote it exactly because the story can't be told in two pages! Yes, I know it's important to be able to summarize the main ideas and plot points, and I don't think I'm even bad at it. I just hate it. Because that's not the way you're supposed to go into the story.

The other one was a short story competition. I spent some time editing a couple of my older fantasy stories for it. To be honest, I think they're too weird and abstract, and not fantasy-like enough for that competition... but you never know if you don't try. Short stories don't have the synopsis issue, but then again, writing short stories sort of feels like writing a synopsis for me... Yeah, long fiction is definitely my thing. Most of the short stories I start to write actually turn into novels and I can't help it. The truth is the ones that stay as short stories only stay that way because I don't think they're as good. Heh.

It's not that I never have fun writing them though.

The short story competition should announce its winners soon, I think.

Completed two important study modules

This was the busiest semester in years! I'm getting closer to graduating and for me that meant doing two pretty big combinations of courses that are required before practical training. I mean, only one is actually required, but I have two internships for the spring because I applied for an extra program in pastoral psychology. Most of these courses required constant attendance (you could only miss one class for an important reason). Luckily I managed to attend 100 %. I had many 8 am to 6 pm days and lots of homework too, it got easier towards the end of the semester, but I was so busy I couldn't even think about my degree work... It's been untouched for months. I hope I have time to complete it in the spring. The internships will keep me busy but I hope not as busy as this semester has been...

These courses have given me a lot, though. I was really inspired through all of them, and a big part of that was how great teachers I had. Never before in my college years have I felt that the teachers were as involved. They were not only interested in their subjects, but us too. I'm becoming less and less uncomfortable with public speaking because I've finally found out that I'm fit for something. My problem has always been my quiet, monotonous voice, and expressionless demeanor. Turns out, in the right context, I'm not expressionless, or too quiet, or too monotonous. I'm calm. And it calms others. Instead of making it hard for them to follow, as it has been with most of my academic presentations, when there's a meditative element, like there often is in a religious context, it seems to make it easier for others to focus. It's finally a good thing that I'm not a ”performer”! That's pretty uplifting.

The courses were full of things I'd always had trouble with, or been unsure with, and in the end all the feedback I got was so good I think I went home in tears for several times. I couldn't believe I'd really done well enough to receive that praise. It was surreal. When the pastor in charge of my group said my sermon was so good she'd had to avoid copying it next Sunday when she had the same topic. I was sure she was joking, but apparently she wasn't because she repeated it to her collegue, and told me next week that she though she managed to avoid it. I know I'm not completely untalented for writing, at least at some level, but that kind of feedback is rare and something to treasure. Besides I'm more confident with my fiction, not speeches or presentations!

I'm still thinking about everything that happened with a sense of wonder. I'm actually tearing up from happiness as I'm writing this. There are just so many things that may seem small alone, but together make this semester almost too amazing for me to comprehend. I obviously had insecurities I wasn't even aware of, since I'm so bewildered. But then again, I guess it's the most typical of me, to believe so hard that I can do something, and then not believe it when I actually do make it.

Participated in three ballet shows

If you take into account that we performed some of them multiple times, then it's six.

Ballet was amazing this semester. I got to prepare for more performances than I usually have. I didn't improve my flexibility as much as I planned but I did improve my pointe work a little bit. Enough to do a variation (read: easier version) of Pizzicato passably. I'm still by far the weakest link in my pointe/repertoire class but... it's no news for me that I still love it all. I love struggling to dance.

I usually do three ballet classes a week, and I couldn't have handled more this semester. I had to take one whole week off when I was finishing my novel, and then made up for it by taking six classes the next week. That was a great week.

The first show we did was called Relevé Goes Retro, and it was for celebrating the school's three year anniversary. Yes, it's that new! I got to draw the poster/the tickets:

My class did our can can from last spring, and some of my friends came to see our school for the first time, so I was actually really nervous. But all went good, as far as I know.

The next thing was the ”dancing display window” that has already become a tradition in the school. This was my first time being a part of it. We did parts of our performances for the Christmas show, so it was like a sneak peak to that. It was really fun and weird.

The Christmas show was only a couple of days ago. All in all, I think it was really good. I made tiny mistakes that the audience apparently didn't see (not my friends or parents at least), and at some point my foot just got a cramp and I couldn't stand fully on my toes, right when I should've, but other than that... I guess, I'm just really happy I somehow made it through. Especially since last spring was pretty hard on me, pointe-wise, and I couldn't even do half of the pointe classes, let alone the performance. That was because I have this one toe that just seems unable to do pointe. It's always in pain and the nail goes back to black right after I've managed to heal it, no tape can make it better. But this semester I found a silicone tube that makes it so much better I can't believe it!

My pointe/repertoire class had two dances: that Pizzicato variation and a dance called ”Sleepwalkers”. To be honest we had too little time to learn them. Pizzicato especially. It's pure technique and it felt like we lacked some of it from the beginning to really do it well. But taking the time into consideration I think we did rather well. I haven't seen the videos of them yet though, so my opinion might still change, but it felt good at least. Better than it ever did at practice, so that's something. The sleepwalker dance is actually very simple, the steps are easy, but I still felt like it would've needed more practice as well, because it's very slow and has some difficult balances which definitely could've been better. I wish we'd get to do these another time with more practice!

My other two classes had their own dances as well. One was a variation of the pas de trois in Bayadere. (Not on pointe.) I had a really hard time learning a certain part of it. I actually didn't get it completely right even once at practice but I did get it right both times we performed it. (This is actually rather typical of me...) And then we did a masked baroque style dance, which always went pretty smoothly in practice and in both performances as well. No drama there. I think I was able to purely enjoy dancing the masked dance the most, because it felt rather effortless. Of course, getting the part in bayadere right got me pretty high, but then I did make a mistake somewhere I usually didn't, and Pizzicato and the Sleepwalkers just didn't go as smoothly as the masked dance all the way through, even though the steps were right.

Mom came to take pictures so here I am, half dressed, between shows.

I think the Christmas shows went well enough though, for me to feel like they were a really good end for this super busy semester. Definitely made some good memories I'm going to treasure. Especially since I'm going away for two months, for the internship, and will only see this beloved ballet school again in March!

Some other honorable mentions/good memories from this semester:

Vegan week!

My roommate and I challenged ourselves to one vegetarian week and one vegan week. The vegetarian one was a piece of cake but the vegan one was a real pain... I know it could've been better if we'd prepared better and if I hadn't been so busy. But I was, and it was really annoying to go to the store in a hurry and not being able to buy anything I normally buy. But we made it through and then we headed to the nearest chinese buffet on Monday right after morning classes.

Plain old tomato spaghetti was my favourite vegatarian food of the week. (The book is Anna Gavalda's Hunting and Gathering and that was good too!)

I learned at least, that it's actually harder for me to give up cheese than meat. Huh. I'm still such a carnivore that raw meat makes me drool, but cheese... Cheese is even more necessary.

Pizza with vegan cheese was definitely the most satisfying food of the vegan week.

Printed a copy of my book!

I'm rewriting this fantasy novel and not doing anything with this old version. But my roommate loves it, so I decided I'd give her a physical copy of it, so she can read it easier and maybe not feel so bad when the new version won't be anything like it.

It turned out quite thick but I think the font and the word cout per page is perfect!

The pages with pictures turned out surprisingly well too!

This was the first time for me to see a novel of mine as a ”real book” so this experiment was really exciting for me too. It may seem silly, but it was really fun to do this myself from the start.

I was the Slayer!

We went to this Halloween party with my roommate, with kind of a short notice so I was happy I was able to come up with this in one day, even if it's not immediately regonizable and the dress isn't completely right. (It was the only long, white dress I could find in a second hand store, and size S so it was a miracle my chest fit in!) My roommate was fem!Spike. xD

I tried to learn to say "I'm the slayer, ask me how!" like Buffy, but I failed miserably.

I turned into a Kataja fan!

Uh, yes, it's basketball. My roommate dragged me along, and I tried to resist for some time because I knew this would happen, and I already had too many obsessions as it was. Now it's worse. Yay!

She was actually into it before we started watching that anime, Kuroko no basket, but not this much. So, that series is partially to blame for the fact we've been watching Kataja every other week or so...

Kataja's victory (77-76) over Le Mans Sarthe in the Champions League was epic.

So there we sit, practising our common hobby on the side: typing all the players by Enneagram and MBTI. Kataja has a lot of Six.

I'm not too mad at her for making me a fan. Because I just got her into ballet! (Seeing our Christmas show this year was the last thing she needed to go bunhead, apparently.) So it's a win-win. After way more resistance than I ever put up, she's signing up for a beginner class! Too bad I'm not in town for two months... It's been like, ten years since I had a ballet dancing friend I hadn't met through ballet. I hope she'll find it fun enough to keep doing it!

My room turned into a storage!

My parents renovated the kitchen completely at the house... I guess I was lucky I only had time to visit home for a couple of times this semester. I'm pretty happy living with a kitchen!

Luckily it's done now, that I'm back home for Christmas. But my room still looks about the same.

Playing badminton and ”playing badminton”!

Another fun hobby we've been into with my roommate. Obviously we're just playing around but it's good exercise. Sometimes we drag another friend of ours along. It's hilarious, because most of the time he can't even hit the shuttle but every now and then he accidentally hits it, and it's almost impossible for us to catch. He calls it his noobie strike.

Then there were nights when no one else was at the gym. She wanted to throw baskets and I was having some serious trouble with Pizzicato at the time, so we used the opportunity. If anyone asks, we were palying badminton like we were supposed to.

I crashed my friend's practice.

She got some pretty hilarious pictures of me practicing soutenu:

This looks like I'm hovering, not spinning!

Yeah, my turns are still pretty ungraceful on pointe!

I finally got around to getting myself a Hufflepuff scarf!

Especially since Pottermore has confirmed it, I've been so proud of my house. No to mention when my professor said: "Systematic theology is the Hogwards of the school of Theology. It's full of weird tricks the majors of other theological subjects don't understand." So the others are muggles! Haha. I kind of can't get into Hogwards any more officially than this!

Early Christmas party!

I got together with a couple of my friends before holidays started, which was really nice since I'm going away for so long. We basically ate ourselves sick.

Totoro's watching over me!

A friend gave me his treasured, handmade Totoro to look after me while I'm away on holidays and the internship. I was touched.

Totoro is helping me with Christmas preparations.

All in all, this semester was really full and pretty amazing. I just feel like so many lucky things happened. I definitely have a lot of energy for the next year now!

Merry Christmas, everyone. <3

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Blog survey for writers: 7. Music

7. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

I don't think I could listen to any songs that have lyrics while I'm writing, and usually I concentrate better when I'm not listening to anything at all, but I have occasionally listened to instrumental music. Only when I'm really deep, like so inside the scene, that anything external will just become a part of it. Then I can listen to instrumental music that fits the mood. And only with really intense scenes. Like a werewolf hunt.

I definitely do associate songs with my (and other people's!) characters all the time everywhere. I don't think I can naturally listen to a song without a viewpoint of a fictional character. Yep. That's how hopeless I am. Of course I can make the songs about something else if I want but I have to make a conscious choice to do that. And why would I do that, when this is just how I get the most out of music? Fictional angles happen naturally. For every song, there's just definitely going to be a fictional character who could sing it, and I don't have to do anything to find them, just listen to music and they will come.

I've even made a game out of this, that I sometimes play with my roommate. It's the best when you find songs that you know are meant to mean something entirely different but all the same it makes complete sense from the point of view of your character. Most words just have a completely different meaning. I'm a very metaphorical person, but for some reason it makes me grin extra wide when something that is supposed to be metaphorical in the song, becomes literal through a character's eyes.

Out of my characters I've only really introduced ”Four Colours” in this blog, so I'll list some songs I associate with them.

The general feel-good song for the whole thing:

Viola songs:

Keller songs:

Sini songs:

Jasmin songs:



There's some. :D

Thursday, 1 September 2016

This is going to be random

Here's a thing:

I should blog more about random things that are on my mind. (Or write my diary I guess?) Because if I don't write them, I'm never going to process them out loud either.

I used to have this dumb notion that I should only blog once I have something important and universal to say. (I had to let go of that thought to even start a blog, otherwise nothing was ever going to be important enough.)

Besides what's the point? Most people who read my blog are my friends anyway.

And the reason I don't blog that much is mostly that I think about what I say too much. (Which doesn't necessarily equal quality.)

But right know the thing is that I'm so busy I'm not going to be able to blog at all if I think too much about what I say. I have possibly the busiest period ever in my school life going on right now.

I think I have to learn to get my thoughts out without being too critical about them. I mean, it should be okay if it doesn't always make sense. It's better to say something incoherent and reflect, and learn from it, than not say anything at all because every thought has to be "finished".

There are definitely a few things that keep coming back to haunt my mind even during these busy days, because I haven't really chewed on them by writing about them. That's how you can always see things in a new light afterall!

Good blogs are probably the ones that can get something general and relatable out of personal experiences, but right now I think I wouldn't mind not having that kind of standards for this blog. (I can try to do that with my typology blog if I want.) And even personal ramblings can be relatable, and I think they have their own value.

I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this post, which feels oddly refreshing already. :D

I feel like overviewing some of the things I have in my mind but never put anywhere.

1. Books and other fiction in general

Have some bad cosplay I'm doing of my own character reading here!

I haven't had time to write proper reviews! And it makes me restless when I don't. I feel like there's a stack of books and series just waiting and waiting and getting heavier in the back of my head because I haven't gone through my love or hate or indifference for them, in a really satisfying way. I need to break them into pieces to let them settle to their rightful place in my mind.

2. My summer jobs

I had two this summer, and I definitely haven't gone through such a multifaceted work experience like... ever? At least not in a period of two months! I did talk about a couple of things that happened there with some friends, but my life has been so busy, I feel like I haven't really been able to digest it all. It's weird, because I kind of went through the highest highs and the lowest lows in my personality during these months... and they're all things I knew about myself but these jobs made me reinforce my understanding of them. I guess many of my problems and strenghts haven't been so... in my face? Not for some time. There's still stuff to think about there. (And it would be good now that I'm about to start an internship.)

3. The big career choice questions

Am I too liberal to work in a parish? Is the fact that I can talk about the matters of faith in "lutheran language", enough to actually call myself lutheran, when I could also talk about them in pretty much any "religious language" (and non-religious as well), and I only feel most at home with the lutheran one, because it's one of the "loosest laguages"? Is the fact that I could definitely be understood as an atheist, a monotheist and a pantheist, or pretty much anything else, simultaneously, depending on your understanding and use of the terms, too impractical for a priest? I'm very content in my worldview but am I content in this environment? Is this the right place to do what I want to do, to help people? I guess this school year, and the internship, will answer that question. I hope.

4. Typing

I've said this before, and this relates to my other blog, but I need to start writing my fictional character typings. It's no good to just analyze them in my head, and since I'm going to do that anyway I should at least start getting some of them out of there. To stop thinking I need to be able write my reasoning perfectly. The whole thing about typing characters is to learn more about the theory. To make the understanding of it more accurate and articulate.

5. Kuroko no basket

Yeah, really. I didn't want to admit it, but this series has had more impact on me than any other since Harry freaking Potter. And the reason I didn't want to admit it, is because it hits a little too close to home. I've never related to a fictional character as much. (For the record: No, it has nothing to do with basketball. It has to do with... everything else. Everything that can be applied elsewhere, if that makes sense.) The thing is, untill now I don't think I've ever been that aware if I relate to a character or not, because it never seemed relevant to me. It's not my comfort area to know that. I like to empathize with characters, not sympathize. I don't generally like the feeling that I'm seeing myself in there. So I have a love-hate relationship with this series. Something brings back painful memories? Easy, right: Don't watch/read it. But when I think that, I realize it's also surprisingly satisfying to feel understood. So... apparently there's still a dilemma there I need to work on.

It really was something like this at first.

6. Daily thoughts

I often find myself thinking there's some general phenomenon I'd like to write about when stuff happens during the day that relates to something like that, but then I never write about it. I forget, or there's too much going on, or I, AGAIN, feel like the thought isn't finished enough. My little inner perfectionist needs a kick or something.

7. HSP

I read Elaine Aron's book on the Highly Sensitive Person and related immensely, but, again, I feel like I haven't really had time to process this subject either (other than crying every other page and recommending it to other sensitive people). I have to have time to analyze this whole thing to pieces so I can really benefit from it.

Okay... this was really random. And really personal. I'm not saying I will blog about any of these things, but I do promise myself to write all my thoughts about them out in my diary at least.

Maybe it's not so bad to write something so personal though. Because I would really like to read things on similar level from other people's blogs!