Hoarder’s House

That’s what my life used to be like, chock full of stuff. Piles and piles of issues and problems and toxic people mixed in with the awesome people I have a habit of stumbling into even in my worst moments. Did you ever have to tidy up a truly messy room? I was one of those messy room kids. I had a carpet of clothes and books and teddy bears, wardrobe stuffed with more clothes – who knew what was clean—desk piled high with bits of paper, books and copybooks and of course all the glass and spoons and plates that were missing from the kitchen.

It took so much effort to tidy up that small space and I always knew that in two days it’d be back to the same state. It drags you down. I had the real life messy room but I also had the messy space inside my head. My life, my head and my room were my hoarding house. I kept all the good and bad, not having the skill-set to separate and throw out what I did not need. The fear of throwing out the valuable memories forced me to keep the toxic ones. The scary thing was that I was convinced for years that some of those truly toxic memories were good ones.

My changing point, my rebirth (yeah, I went to the cliché, deal with it), was when I arrived in the Toulouse train station and had yet another mental breakdown. I sat outside the station, on the ground with all the homeless people and their dogs nearby, trying to find the train station on the map book I had purchased. I couldn’t find it. Took me nearly an hour to work it out.

To this day, I have absolutely no idea how I survived those first few months. Yes, I broke down crying in shaded areas throughout Toulouse. Random people would just chat with me on the street. There was a young bloke who would walk along one of the main streets with me and ask me did I get a job yet, then say good luck and disappear. The homeless guys would nod a hello at me. People would offer help when they saw me flipping my map book around trying to work out what street I was on. There were bad experiences too, men would tell me I had to go to their apartment to have sex with them right now, I was followed down streets, and the big one: my flatmate fell in love with me and proceeded to stalk me. Which always impressed me, in a dark way, because you have to be very dedicated to stalk a person you live with! Oh yeah, he was a heroin addict. Good times…

I got a job, then I got a second job. I had a room in an alright apartment with the dodgy flatmate in an equally dodgy area. I got a bank account and they instantly started to screw me charging me €16 a month for two magazines I never signed up for. Nice of them. Then I met Smoky (7 months mark, he likes his privacy). The greatest lesson he has ever taught me is that going to therapy does not make you a crazy person.

There I was, after several weeks of night terrors so bad I’d wake up and just not sleep again for the night. I was starring at my hoarding house full of crap. Contemplating burning the whole thing down. I had tried to do that by moving to France and the damn thing was weighing me down. So I started going to therapy. I put on my rubber gloves, tied my hair back, opened a pile of black bags and started clearing and sorting out my life.

Here I am, now, nearly five years later. I’m working in a job that I never even dreamed I could do. I love it, and I’m improving every day. My house isn’t completely cleared yet, there’s a room or two that I’m still sorting through. It’s no longer the impossible task it once felt like. My goal when I moved to France was to be happy. I realised after a few years that that was a silly goal to have. Now, I want to be okay. I will be happy when there are reasons to be happy, I will feel the emotions I’m supposed to feel in the right moments.

I’m a strong, confident, independent woman. My partner is an awesome, intelligent, fun loving man (I could name adjectives for hours but I’ll stick with three). And we have a beautiful meowing fluff ball of a cat. I’m saying farewell to my hoarding house.


My last few days…

… working two jobs!

Hello all,

I’m finally here. I have two more days of being both a nanny and an English teacher. And boy is Friday a tough day to end on:

  • 7.45 to 8.45 Nanny work
  • 9.00 to 11.30 first class
  • 11.30 to 13.30 second class
  • 14.00 to 15.30 third class
  • 17.00 to 18.45 nanny work

And then home time and chances are I’ll have a migraine.

The next few weeks, I’ll be sorting out my organization. I’ve to make time for class prep, my 2 books that I’m working on (the one you know about and the secret one), re-start my French lessons, and do all my extra hobbies: my carpet, my drawings and paintings, my zentangles etc.

I wanted to drop a line to let you know that this week is a high anticipation week for me and I may be too tired to do any blogging this weekend. And a special hello to all my new followers, thanks for joining me!

I hope your week is as exciting as mine,

Enjoy yourselves,

Elegances Icy

My hectic life

Hello all,

My life is changing again. I have now been teaching business English for six months and for the past two months I have been working 2 jobs. That is one job too many. As of 12/11/18 I will only be working one job, thankfully. My goal is to work 15 hours per week teaching. I’ve calculated that I will be able to pay my rent (everything included: electricity, gas, etc.), pay for half the groceries and be able to save. The saving option is the most exciting thing for me. Imagine actually having an emergency fund? Shocking!

I am currently working on a certificate to teach English. And when I’m finished the second job I’ll be spending more time on that. It all comes down to time management. I ended up in hospital last weekend, I’ll tell you more later. It showed me just how much time I was spending on lesson planning. I now have a strict rule: only spend half the time of the class on the lesson plan. On average the class lasts 1h30m which means I spend 45 minutes preparing that class. And no working on the weekend!

All my hobbies and my writing have gone out the window since I’ve been so focused on the teaching. The last few days I’ve had more free time and it has been very strange. I’m in that period where I don’t want to do anything in my free time. I know that will break soon and then I’ll be slowly picking up my hobbies and my writing. I’m already in an online writing group, it’s not active for the moment but once again, when the 12th of November rolls along, I’ll see if I can get anyone to respond.

My health problems! I have 2 fairly major health problems at the moment. My lungs and my pancreas. I keep loosing my voice and coughing a lot so I’ve an appointment with a specialist at the end of November to see if I’m allergic to something or if I’ve asthma, or if it’s something else.

Thursday the 18th of October I took a tablet of codeine for a migraine and woke up in terrible pain. And then proceeded to have a panic attack. I now, completely understand why people stay locked up indoors to avoid experiencing a panic attack. It is by far the most horrible thing I’ve ever felt. And I have awful period cramps, so I know pain. I lost feeling in my hands and thought someone had a belt wrapped around my chest and was yanking at it. I full sure thought I was going to die. I spent 5 days in the hospital. The codeine had blocked my pancreas from working and my pancreas had started to digest itself. There are 3 main causes:

  • Gall stones No sign of these
  • Alcohol Don’t drink
  • Medical ?? Please be the codeine!

I have a long list of things I have to do so that the doctor is sure I’m ok which I’ll be doing in the next 2 months. To finish I want to say the staff of the Valence Hospital are amazing. So polite and kind and I really felt taken care of and safe. Also the SAMU who I yelled at on the phone, I’m very sorry, it was not you, I just couldn’t figure out how to breath. And the guys who brought me to the hospital, thanks so much, I felt so safe.

That’s really it for now. I will try to blog more often in the future. I really want to do NaNoWriMo but I’ve nothing prepared and life is a bit hectic right now…so we’ll see! Good luck to everyone who is doing it.

Have a good week!

Elegances Icy

First Buddhist post

I was going to write out a big post on Buddhism as promised but honestly it was beginning to bore me. Here is the first installment of poems to explain my journey. Enjoy.

My last confession was sixteen years ago.
I’ve never regretted it, you know,
Letting go of believing in you.
You’re not a bad God, that is true.
You gave me no comfort, just emptiness,
You bring others a sense of calmness.
I don’t begrudge them, they have their path
I won’t point out the mistakes in their math.

I’ve found the Buddha, he was a man.
One man, who had a plan.
He tried every available teaching.
It made my brain ping!
Look him up, his story is out there
For anyone who has a care
To find the peace inside of them
Letting go of all the mayhem.

It is official, I am a Buddhist
I follow the path with trust.
That is the noble eightfold path
There isn’t any bloodbath
I’m not saying it is easy.
Every single day I see
The wisdom behind his words
And how to handle my life’s hazards.

Paying my bills

For the last three and a half years I haven’t been able to pay my bills. Last month, and this month has been the first time I can pay my rent and electricity. Only a few of my close friends knew about my struggles the last few years, and even with them I didn’t go into details.

The other day I was walking through the city centre, it dawned on me that I could actually go into any shop and buy myself something. A bottle of water, a chocolate bar, a magazine, lipgloss, hair products, all the things I haven’t been able to buy. I actually strolled along the streets, I didn’t avoid looking at the shop windows, the big posters telling me that there is a sale on. I didn’t have to remind myself that even with a sale I couldn’t afford the products.

Finally, I threw out all of my clothes that no longer fit me and I am in the process of replacing them. I thoroughly enjoyed filling up that black bag with all those clothes! I bought a new phone, that has been the hardest purchase.

I have learnt a lot the last few years, I have witnessed how blind people are to situations that aren’t theirs. The amount of people that expected me to hop on a plane, because flights are so “cheap,” never once thinking of how exactly I would get to the airport, pay for my food, lodging’s, and all of the other costs that it takes to go somewhere.

I really want to go to a concert. I want to have a holiday with my boyfriend where it’s just the two of us. I want to buy dinner for my boyfriend at a nice restaurant. I want to buy a decent rain jacket, and a summer jacket. I want to buy shoes, and not ones to replace the battered and broken pair, but spare shoes. Imagine that? Having a spare set of shoes. I want to get a yoga membership. I want to get my teaching certificate.

And you know what? I can get all of these things. I will have to save but these things are possible, and that’s pretty incredible.