Helping Hands

Hello. I’m still alive.

So, we moved. It was almost two weeks ago, and I managed to be instantly sick right after we moved, starting out at the new place with lying in bed for two weeks. Wuhu.

Once I was getting better, I decided to start working out again, since looking at boxes and all the boyfriend’s things was kind of driving me insane. So I made my escape one morning, as one of my favorite instructors had a latin inspired dance course.

I got up early, and planned for taking care of the horses on my way home from the gym. With the move, I can no longer just walk across the road to the gym, I actually have to start the scooter and drive for it, and I have been kinda worried that I would quit working out now that I had to drive for 20 minutes to get there, so I figured that if I could somehow make it fit with the stable chores, I’d have an easier time getting the scooter out of the garage.

I know this may sound obsessive, but working out has made a great difference in my life since I started almost a year ago. Not only do I fit into the pants again, I had out grown, but I am much stronger and find it way easier to trim the horses hooves for instance. And, it makes me happy, which is something worth fighting for, so yes. I am really hoping that I’ll stick with it, even with the move.

It turned out to be kind of a weird day. I packed my stable boots, and my stable jacket, since I couldn’t wear that to the gym, I had to remember to bring it, so I could feed the horses on my way home. It was a pretty cold morning and I was perhaps not all that well yet, feeling like my head was a bit of a cotton ball after two weeks in bed.

But I got on the scooter, bringing all my horsey clothes, and my gym clothes, thinking that this could work. I parked the scooter at the gym and instantly reached for my phone, since this was my old neighborhood and I had to check what my old team mates from Pokemon Go was up to with the pokegyms in the area. We had a rather serious falling out just before I left, and I was pretty sure that with me, attacking the blue gyms in my new neighborhood, (I wasn’t too sick for that,) the blue team had retaliated and started gunning for my old team, and I was kinda looking forward to seeing how much ground they had lost.

Yes, I know. But this place was mine. I had been defending it since the game was released and now, team instinct owns it, only since I refuse to cheat and play the game like they do, I played myself out of the area. So it felt kind of nice, watching them get their asses kicked.

Only, as I reached for my phone this morning, I felt my blood run cold. It was not there. I double checked my pockets, on both my gym jacket and my horsey jacket and no. Nothing. None of my phones, or my card holder.

Slowly the realization hit me. I did not bring them. Even worse, I left them outside my front door. As I left the house, I had them in my hand, and once I had to unlock the scooter, I put them on the mail box, because my horsey jacket was in the garage and it was the one with the pockets. Long story, that made perfect sense at the time, with the only down side being me, having left my two phones, and my cards, including my credit cart, and my drivers licence, sitting outside the house.

It also included my key card for the gym, and since it was a morning course, the reception was not open yet, so there was no one to let me in. All in all, I found myself standing in front of a locked door, on a cold morning, looking up at the sky, wondering if it was going to rain on my poor phones, back home on the mail box.

Luckily, one of the elder ladies who usually dances with us arrived and even though she could get in a lot of trouble for letting me in, she did so without hesitation. Smuggled me through, not just the front door but the inside security system as well. Yes, the gym is kinda well defended. And she could get a huge fine if she was discovered smuggling someone in.

Once inside, I had signed up for the dance class, and the system wants you to register that you have arrived, by scanning your key card, proving that you were in fact taking part in the class you signed up for, making sure that you weren’t taking up the sloth without using it.

Two hours before the classes start, you can’t resign your spot, so there I was, inside, but unable to tell the system that I had arrived.

As luck would have it, the instructor knows me and once I told her that I forgot my card, she logged onto the system and “arrived” me. No questions asked. I got to say, so far I was pretty amazed by both her and the lady who let me in. On a dark Tuesday morning, they were more than ready for helping out the nearest moron who left her card on the mailbox at home….

And, I had another favor to ask. Having changed, I snuck onto our “coffee and gossip” corner, which is a place I don’t come a lot, and found two others there, that I usually dance with. I don’t know their names, but I know their faces, from having seen them at class regularly.

When I told them that I left my phone outside my house, and asked if I could borrow one of theirs to call my boyfriend, they instantly offered. And when I could not remember his phone number, (seriously, who knows phone numbers these days?) they helped me google him and find it.

As much as leaving the house without my things was potentially a disaster, I have to say, it was one of the most amazing experiences I have had in a long time. Three different people, two of whom I don’t even know by name, instantly bent over backwards to help me out, no hesitation and not a second thought to how it may affect them.

If that is not the kind of days that restores your faith in humanity, then I don’t know what will. And it assured me that sticking with this gym and these people was worth the drive. If they can make such an effort for someone they don’t even know, then I can get the scooter out of the garage, even when it rains, and go dance with them. Their kindness was all the motivation I needed. I am sure it didn’t feel like much for them, but to me, every single one of them was a life saver.

And, I made it back home without running into the police, which was pretty awesome, since, you know, my license was at home as well.

All in all, I learned my lesson. No putting my phone down on the mail box, even for a second, ever. I was just lucky the boyfriend was home, so I could call him and make him get the phone in from the rain, once we were done googling him.

And I was really, really lucky that most people are actually very sweet and helpful, once you engage them. I guess that is a lesson I need to learn a few times before I dare trust it, but it sure was an amazing day.

Once I came home, and told the boyfriend, he tried to comfort me and said that it was alright, nothing happened, you know, don’t worry about it. And I told him he was wrong. It was not a bad day at all. It was, in fact, one of the very best. And something did happen. I came home smiling. How amazing was that?

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Time Out

It’s been a while since I’ve written about anything serious on this blog. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Gishwhes is super serious, and I am still devastated that HIM is breaking up, but… Well.

First of all, I am really happy that Team Dandelions filled up so quickly. I never imagined having an entire Gishwhes team together in a matter of days. And by the looks of it, it is going to be an awesome year. Loads of creative and kind people on our team and I am so looking forward to gishing with them.

That said, I’ve been pretty quiet about my life lately, compared to what I would usually share on this blog. The truth is, I’ve been going through some personal issues, and I have no idea how to really talk to anyone about it.

Which led me to my doctors office, one day, unable to speak, because I could not stop crying. The poor guy took me in without an appointment and referred me to a psychiatrist.

What you need to understand about me, is that mental illness is not a thing in my family. If it is not physical, it is not real. You do not ask for help, unless it hurts somewhere, real, like an arm or a leg. Falling apart is simply not a possibility in my family.

So for me to actually ask for help, sorta, was something I thought I would never, ever do. And I haven’t really told anyone about it, because I doubt that anyone would be supportive.  (The boyfriend excepted, but I don’t want to burden him with me being unable to handle my life, so… I get how unfair that is, I just can’t stop thinking like that.)

Long story short, seeing the psychiatrist went exactly as I had thought it would. She talked, I answered, and she had no idea what to do with me. I am not the kind of person who talks to strangers about myself, and I have no need to turn my childhood or anything else upside down in therapy sessions. I was there out of desperation, because I didn’t know what else to do, but that didn’t mean that I had any real need to talk to her.

She did end up giving me some kind of a diagnosis though, before she discontinued our sessions, not believing that she could help me, or that I could in anyway, change who I am. She believes that I am schizoid.

Naturally, I googled that, and even if I don’t find myself to be a perfect match, there sure is some points where I fit the description. Mostly, what stuck with me, was how being schizoid, is not schizophrenia. I don’t hear voices, I don’t believe that I am more than one person, stuff like that. No, I create fantasy worlds and live in them, and to me, they are more real than anything standing right in front of me.

Imagine that. I thought that was just me, you know, having and active imagination and it turns out, it’s a personalty disorder. Makes you wonder about a lot of authors, don’t it…

The psychiatrist believed too that the reason for my sadness is not depression, or anxiety, or anything remotely treatable. It is simply who I am, and something I will have to deal with. Mostly, it is triggered when I am forced to interact with the real world, and to be someone I am not. Like, normal. Doing the laundry, shopping, smiling when someone calls me “dear,” even though that always makes me want to stab people in the face. I despise it when people talk down to me, and most men do. Anyone who knows me, knows that you don’t say anything to me that you would not say to a man. Don’t call me “sweetheart,” don’t comment on my looks, don’t call me “pretty,” unless you are the kind of person who would call a man that too. I will hate you with a vengeance, behind my smile. And I will probably cry about it later, when I am alone.

Okay, staying on track here. Basically this diagnosis is giving me a reason for why I don’t play well with others. I realize that it is not just a blessing. I realize that it will be very easy for me to slip into my fantasy world completely, and avoid all human contact, now that I have a reason to. I am not normal. I can’t help it and I can’t change.

I realize too, that even if the psychiatrist told me that it was perfectly okay to be me, and that I have every right to be who I am, without feeling that I need to change, I don’t think I should just cut all ties to the real world. The thing that always scared me the most was me, being allowed to be… Just me.

As much as I love to be alone, to go for long walks with my pokedex, (pokemon go,) to hang with my horses, alone on our pasture, or to write on my books, I am terrified of the day when I don’t have a reason to talk to anyone anymore.

Which is why I do things like Gishwhes, and even took the job as team captain this year. I can be real, once in a while. I can deal with people, once in a while. I can be a part of this world, in my own small way.

Also, I still work out everyday, and I know it is becoming an obsession with me, like most things does. Having been raised to believe that I was sick, when I cried every morning when I had to leave for school, working out is in some strange way me, reclaiming my life at long last. I am not physically ill, despite the many diagnosis my mother made sure I got, to explain why she could not get me out the door. Part of me always knew that I wasn’t sick. I have worked with horses all my life, I have been the daily leader of stables since I was 13, unofficially, and sorta unpaid, but still. That is the kind of job that would wear down most people and someone diagnosed with ME (chronic fatigue syndrome,) asthma, and fibromyalgia should not be able to do any of it. But that was what the doctors told my mom, and that was what she told me and the school, when I could not breathe, crying my heart out, because I had to go to school. That is why I was allowed to stop going to school when I was 12 and never came back.

It is kind of empowering, to be working out now. To prove to myself once and for all, that they were all wrong. Maybe I should have realized it sooner, but I have to say, it is very hard to break free of how you were raised. Especially when you don’t have any other explanations for why you are just unable to put on your jacket and go to school like normal kids.

Well, I guess I do now. This is just who I am. Great.

In a way, working out, is making me interact with people too, since all the trainers at my gym knows my name by now and – hold on- talk to me when I show up. They are really awesome, all of them, and even if I wish they would not know me, and not force me to smile and answer them when they say hello, or ask if I’ve caught any good pokemon lately, (one of them plays as well, only he is team mystic… Tsk tsk…) I guess it is the kind of interaction that is good for me. Keeping me a little in the real world, not letting me slip entirely into my own fantasy world.

So, to sum up this long post, I guess that what I am trying to say is this; I am still here. For all of you who have worried that this blog has been quiet and that I have stopped answering my phone, I am sorry. I am trying very hard to deal with me at the moment, figuring out who I am and how to handle me.

I still have a long way to go, and the boyfriend and I are moving in a week, so my entire life is in boxes, and our economy is in ruins. Really, I like my fantasy world waaaaaay better than the real world. Just saying.

The horses are doing good though. Nothing much to update on there. Saleem broke another tooth, most likely because when he broke his mandible as a colt, the foundation for his teeth were damaged, so the vet was by again. Tardis is still improving on her cushings medication, although the edema under her belly doesn’t seem to be disappearing. Marble is lame again, as always when spring comes and she starts growing again. She is driving me insane, always growing into too tight tendons. But she is happy and does not require pain killers this year, so I guess I should not complain. Apocalipse and Ablaze are what keeps me sane (ish) these days. They are my two little angels.

I don’t have a lot to write about them anymore though, since no longer riding them has removed a lot of the stress I always felt around my horses. I no longer feel that they need to learn something, or that I need to do better, or that we need to compete and show the world that we are awesome. Seeing Apocalipse and Saleem play on the pasture is all I want these days. I honestly don’t miss riding at all. Who knows, maybe some day, I’ll go there again, but for now, I need a time out to get myself in order, and I have no business training them, asking them for something I may not be able to give myself. Luckily, they are happy, not working, and that is all I really want. For them to be happy.

As long as they are happy, there is one thing I am doing right. I guess that is a start.

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TeamDandelions – #Gishwhes2017

*EDIT, the team is full already. If anyone is still looking for a team, let me know, I know a few awesome captains, still looking for members 🙂

Wondering what Gishwhes is? Scared to try it? Or, just looking for a chill team with loads of dedication and dirty humor? TeamDandelions might be it.

We are not in it to win it, we prefer to have a week of fun and games, and as team captain, I’ll do my very best to make sure that everyone has a great experience. If you are worried that you won’t have time to dedicate the whole week, we won’t gather our pitchforks. If you have social anxiety and can’t leave the house, there will be tasks you can solve from home. TeamDandelions is for EVERYONE. We did make it into the coffee table book last year, and we are always ready to be crazy for a good cause, but we welcome diversity.

So far, we are mostly Danish members, and we would love to add some more international flavors.

Any questions, feel free to ask. I’ll do my very best to answer.

Join the hunt! It runs from August 5th -12th this year. And do look for TeamDandelions.

https://www.gishwhes.com/

I’ll add a few pictures of what we did last year, starting with the one that made it into the coffee table book, although we have no way of knowing what this years hunt will include.

The local post office workers still look at me funny every time I come by, because of this one 😉

I’ve heard a lot of people say that stuff like shipping yourself off like that, is too much. Not to worry. No one is going to force you to do anything you don’t want to do. Gishwhes is supposed to be fun, and only encourage you to get out of your comfort zone. We are not pushing you off a cliff. At least not without jumping with you 😉

Some items ask for video, like the “Hatch 3 pokemon eggs,” quest. Yes, I play Pokemon Go, pretty obsessively, so I jumped for joy at that one.

Ah, I was only lvl 22 back then… Cute…

Now, I will end this open invite by saying that we will be designing a team logo, but since we chose the name, we haven’t been able to find a single dandelion to take a picture of, so… I’m on it. It will be arriving soon. Ideas are, of course, welcome. Always.

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HIM

Music was always very important to me. Some of the first music I really loved was The Doors, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I realize that they were in part, my mothers influence. The first band I found on my very own, was HIM. Which of course, led to a lot of other Finnish bands, like The Rasmus, The 69 Eyes, and Negative. But HIM was always special to me.

I’m not entirely sure why. I mean, I saw them live once, as well as The 69 Eyes and The Rasmus, and I gotta say, HIM doesn’t hold a candle to the others, as a live band. (I know, I can feel the guns lock and load here, sorry.) Still, I “found” HIM in 1999, when I was just a teenager, and going through a very tough time, trying to find out who I was, what my place in life was, what I was good at, and most importantly, desperately fighting to save my severely abused horse, Poseidon’s life. I am honestly not sure I would have pulled through those years, if it had not been for HIM.

It may sound dramatic to say, but in the equestrian world, as the teenage girl with the crazy horse, you are utterly alone. Hell, in the equestrian world, as the girl with the top competitive horses, you are still alone, as one of my friends proved, by hanging herself at a young age. I guess I found a sanctuary in music in general, but especially in HIM, because of their lyrics.

One of the first reasons why I learned to operate a computer, and go online, while we were still dialing up for connection, was so I could stalk HIM’s website, Heartagram.com. That was back when it was an awesome place where fans shared pictures and stories. I even had a picture of Apollon and me, wearing the heartagram on our saddle pad at a competition, on the page for a long time.

I remember when they released Dark Light, and we still had the slowest internet connection. They redid the entire page, and my computer simply could not load it anymore. That was a terrible time. As much as I loved the music, Heartagram was a second home to many of us.

I guess that what I’m saying is, that I’ve followed these guys religiously for most of my adult life. Not in a creepy stalker kind of way, not much at least, but I’ve soaked up every little bit of information about them there has been released online. Yes, I tend to obsess.

With the change in record companies, the band lost the Heartagram.com page, which effectively killed it.  I don’t think it has been updated for two years now, but then we have face book and twitter and you know… We make do, gathering in groups from all over the world, sharing news among ourselves, even creating street teams of our own.

The band hasn’t released a CD since 2013, around the time Ablaze was born, that’s why I remember, and I guess that it is not a huge surprise, with the recent loss of their drummer, that they are announcing their break up now, but still. A small part of me was hoping they would just become a studio band, releasing a CD once in a while…

Instead, they are going on a last tour this year. I am pretty torn about that. On one hand, I want to go see them one more time, and on the other, I really don’t. I can’t imagine it not being horribly sad. This is not a band I want to say goodbye to. Not ever. And truth is, I don’t have to. I’ll always have their music. They just won’t make anything new anymore. And I guess that is okay too.

It has taken me a while to write this, because on one hand it hit me kind of hard, losing hope that they would ever release a “Love Metal Archives Vol 2,” for instance… And on the other, I guess it is the best for the band members, which we have sorta known for a long time.

So this is not goodbye, not really. This is not letting go. This is just accepting change, and holding on to the great music they have already given us. With a little luck, there’ll be more in the future, even if it won’t be labeled “HIM” anymore. Their guitar player already released two solo albums as Daniel Lioneye. So, who knows.

I’m struggling here, to find the perfect HIM song to end this post with, because truth be told, they are all awesome, and so many of them comes to mind. Being unable to choose, I’ll just post the song that I came across one morning in 1999, on MTV, at 3 am, as I was getting ready for my paper route. The song that changed my life forever and introduced me to a world of wonderful music and Finnish bands. Not to mention, introduced me to my amazing HIM’ster friends, who by now, are closer to me than most of my family.

Join Me In Death.

Thank you guys. Sincerely. Thank you for everything. Best of luck in the future.

And you know what, that is unfair, because that song was before Burton, so, I’ll have to post this one as well. Just cause. I wish I had a box like that 😛

I guess I do. It’s called youtube. *Sigh*

Oh, wow. I thought I could be an adult about this. I’ll miss you guys. I really, really will.

And I take it back, the http://heartagram.com/ page has been updated, to fit the final tour dates. That kinda makes it extra sad somehow. *Sobbing*

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Free Fantasy

Quick note that ALL of my fantasy books are free to download today, and all weekend, including Monday. So, three days from now 😉

And by all my fantasy books, I mean all my e-books, excluding Surviving the Equestrian World.

Look up Veronica Merlin on Amazon, or, browse through them via this link; https://starstonestenfalk.wordpress.com/e-books/

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Surviving The Equestrian World

Surviving the Equestrian World is free to download as an ebook on Amazon, right now 🙂 Check it out, and do please share.

Cover Saleem

Surviving the Equestrian World;

http://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Equestrian-World-Veronica-Merlin-ebook/dp/B00JYFNEIC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412979780&sr=1-1&keywords=surviving+the+equestrian+world

And no, you don’t have to know a lot about horses, or want to learn how to train them, to read this book, although it is written mostly for the competitive rider, who want’s to train with kindness.

Starting tomorrow, all my other ebooks will be free for three days, except Surviving the Equestrian World, so if you are browsing Amazon and come across something else I have written that you might find interesting, look me up again tomorrow.

Or, simply find them here. Remember time difference.

https://starstonestenfalk.wordpress.com/e-books/

 

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On Men And Women

One of the trainers at my gym is a fairly young girl. She told us a little story today, about how she has started working the reception as well, not just training. That kind of work entails checking up on the bathrooms and the dressing rooms. Fine, right? It’s a job like any other, you go in, make sure there is paper in the stalls, stuff like that. Simple.

Or well, as it turns out, not so much. Aside from checking up on the women’s dressing rooms, she has to check the men’s as well. So she knocks the door, and ask if they are decent. They answer yes, and she comes in, keeping her eyes down, and even shielding her eyes with her hand, really, really not wanting to catch a glimpse of “something” anywhere.

She does her thing, checks the paper and is about to leave, having been in there for possibly 35 seconds, when she turns around and comes face to face with a completely naked dude.

Clearly, from the way she was telling it, she did not find it funny, as she had just asked if they were dressed, and they had said yes.

This has happened every time she has had to go in there since, mostly the same guy, but others has been joining in as well. One of them even commented as she was leaving that they just “made her day.” Being polite, and AT WORK, she didn’t feel that she could tell them that they so did not make her day at all.

I will admit, when she told the story, I smiled, like everyone else in the room, but it stuck with me when I went home. The things women has to put up with, and the way we don’t even support each other, when we are in trouble. In a room full of women, not a single one of us told her not to accept that kind of behavior from anyone. We laughed, because it was sort of funny, the way she told it.

I mean, I know its a dressing room, and accidents happen. If it had been once, or different guys, one could say that it was just bad luck that she had seen them naked. But this actually feels kind of criminal to me, the more I think about it. This girl is at work, and these men are flashing her.

Imagine if they did that to the girl working at the convenient store. They’d get arrested, wouldn’t they? So why must she put up with it? She did not sign up for having their private parts flashed in her face, by agreeing to make sure their bathrooms has paper. She has no choice but to go in there, time and time again. It is her job.

Only, really, it isn’t. It shouldn’t be. I don’t know how management at the center would feel if she actually told them, I hope they’d be supportive of her, but really, she won’t complain. She is way too uncomfortable about it. I’d be surprised if she ever tells anyone again, since none of us told her not to put up with it when she told us.

I might have to bring it up the next time I see her, for my own peace of mind, because I can’t shake the feeling that I let her down greatly.

“We just made her day.”

This girl is in her early, (very early,) twenties. What the fuck kind of way is that to behave around her, and talk about her? What kind of men thinks they are so amazing that they need to force their nudity on little girls? Perverts? Or is it such a common thing that men thinks we really want to see their penises?

Dirty little truth is, guys, we really don’t. We are pretty selective with how and when we wanna look at male genitalia. And having it flashed in our faces when we are at work…

Well….

In a time where people are talking about transgender people using the bathrooms, and how women don’t feel safe, having a man around, this feels pretty relevant.

Really, it is not the men, who identify as women, we have a problem with. It is those who identify as men, but who needs validation from women to feel like a real man. They are the ones some of need protection from. Especially young, shy girls. Who just wants to do their jobs.

I’m not sure I ever really understood the whole bathroom debate until now. To me, having unisex bathrooms was never an issue. Or, if a girl who may not be female anatomically, should use the women’s dressing room, then it really isn’t my business what is in her pants and I hope I’d be hard pressed to find any woman who would feel threatened by that.

But clearly, some men can’t be trusted around women. That really is the problem, isn’t it? That we, as a society, needs to raise our men better? Teach them not to violate women? And teach our daughters not to accept it?

I don’t know. This whole story has me wanting to hang out with her at the reception, waiting for the flashers to show up, so I can ask them if they usually flash little girls, or if they somehow think that she is special because her job puts her in a vulnerable position. But I guess that is not the way to go either. That is not my fight. Not my place. But I should have told her not to put up with it. I hope I will. Otherwise I am joining in a culture that raises women to accept and put up with abuse. I never thought I’d find myself here. I guess I was raised in that culture as well…

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