06 Apr The Alphabet of Eli
I have always loved alphabets. There is something magical about how all words, all books, all languages can be broken down into such a small and unassuming collection of symbols. It's like alchemy, and it made me think about how we as people can be broken down as well. Of course, we are all much more than the sum of our parts, but there are essential bits and pieces that fundamentally make us who we are.
Today I thought it would be fun, especially as there are so many new peeps hanging out here at the moment, to share an alphabetical list of all the bits and pieces that I think make me, ME.
Welcome to the Alphabet of Eli...
A is for ART
Of course it is. Art lies at the core of everything I do. I create it, live it, explore it, see it, watch it, listen to it, am inspired by it, share it, express it, am consumed by it. I try and incorporate everything in my life into my art. It's a glorious ouroboros of art becoming life becoming art.
B is for BOOKS
Oh books. My first and lifelong love. I have been obsessed with books for as long as I can remember, and (according to my mum) even before that! I have always wanted to have a shelf of books with my name on the spines, and I'm well on my way to making that dream come true. Books are my friends - they are full of wisdom and wonder. For me, reading is like breathing.
Also, B is for BEER - I love beer, and I now live in a country where they drink it like water. My spiritual home.
Also, B is for BACON - nuff said.
C is for COPENHAGEN
Copenhagen is the love of my life. A city I have flirted with for many years - my Dad is Danish and has lived here for the last 20 years, so it's always been a home from home for me - I finally fell irredeemably in love with her last year after coming for a holiday and deciding to stay for ever. I'm coming up to my first anniversary of living in her and I am more enthralled than ever - she delights me every damn day. Finally, I have found a place I belong.
Also, C is for COFFEE - the magical potion that makes me able to function. Do not talk to me before my second cup.
Also, C is for CATS - you may have noticed, I bloody love them. My heart is a purple cat, and I believe that if I'm very, very good in this life, I'll get to come back as a cat in the next.
Also, C is for COLOUR - all the colours, all the time. I love colour so much I want to roll in it.
D is for DIRTY JOKES
You know that one person who manages to make everything sound dirty? Well, that's me. It's kind of my super power. I unashamedly have the sense of humour of a twelve-year-old boy. The Danish language is fabulous for me - full of filth! My favourite sniggery pleasure is spotting the 'slut spurt' signs in shops (it means the end of a sale).
Also, D is for DRAWING - the beginning of everything and the perfect meditation.
E is for ELINOR DAGNY TRIER
My name is a source of power for me. I'm obsessed with the meanings of names and I love to look up the names of people I meet to see how well their name fits them. My name means Bright (Elinor) New Day (Dagny), which I love. Also, my middle and last names belonged to my paternal grandmother (my 'farmor' in Danish), whom I never really knew, but feel a profound connection with. So much so that I took her maiden name when I changed my name after my divorce.
Also, E is for EMPATH - I am one. To the nth degree. I feel other people's energies and emotions as if they were my own. It's amazing and exhausting and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Also, E is for EMOTIONS - speaking of emotions, I have them intensely. I'm fully all or nothing - if I'm happy I'm ecstastic, if I'm sad I'm in the depths of despair. There is no middle ground.
F is for FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Oh my god! My PEOPLE! I have no idea what I would do without them. After suffering from crippling social anxiety in my teens and early twenties (as well as terribly low self-esteem which resulted in lopsided 'friendships' with manipulators and vultures), I have won at life in terms of the people around me. They lift me up, they take care of me and they cheer me on. I am lucky enough to be friends with the cream of humanity and I am grateful for them every single day.
Also, F is for FUCK - It's my favourite word in the English language because it can be used to mean anything you want - it can be beautiful or ugly, it can be soft or aggressive. It can express a whole range of emotions from shock to horror to joy to love to... well, anything you bloody well want.
Also, F is for FEMINIST - I believe men and women should have equal rights and privileges, ergo I am a feminist. It's really not that complicated.
G is for GRATITUDE
H is for HOME
The thing I'm missing right now. I haven't had a home of my own for a very long time and I'm feeling the pull so strongly at the moment. To have a private place full of my books and my art and my lovely things seems like the pinnacle of loveliness. It's terribly difficult to find accommodation in Copenhagen and I've been house-hunting for months now. I know it's a great opportunity to practice patience and allowing and whatnot, but sometimes I just want to scream with frustration. I can't wait to find the perfect place and fill it with books and art and flowers and candles and wine and maybe, one day, a little orange kitten called Neil (after Neil Gaiman, of course).
Also, H is for HORSE-RIDING - I spent most of my childhood on the back of a horse. I would like to do more of that.
I is for INTERNET
What on earth did we do before the internet?? I owe my whole life to this wondrous invention. I've met nearly all the people I love online, I run my business online - I'd never be able to do what I do without the internet - I manage to navigate a new country and a new language thanks to resources I've found online. I love it. I may complain about it from time to time, and I'm definitely an advocate for disconnecting once in a while, but damn, I wouldn't be without it.
J is for JOY
Joy is becoming more and more of a constant in my life these days. After many years of feeling like a fish out of water, out of step with the rest of the world, and suffering from awful bouts of depression as a result, I am gradually recalibrating my brain to accept joy. And more than that, to seek it out and see it even when it's hidden. Every day I understand a little bit more about everything, and I firmly believe that joy is the point of it all. The point of existence itself. And it's always accessible, although some days accessing it is a bit harder than others.
Also, J is for JOURNALING - my journals are sacred to me. They are, along with my sketchbooks, the things I would save if my house caught fire. Everything begins within those pages, including me.
K is for KIDS
Never wanted them. Never played 'mother' when I was a kid. My dolls all went mountaineering or on quests to fight dragons. I half expected that to change as I grew older and my baby-making hormones kicked in, but no. I am now halfway through my thirties and there is not one single tiny shred of me that wants to procreate. I just want to make books instead of babies.
L is for LOVE
My heart is full of it - for people, for places, for things, for books, for ideas, for colours. I am bursting with it. I love myself, I love my life and I love everything in it, even the tricky bits.
Also, L is for LARS - Lars is new. Lars is a unicorn. I'm fairly sure I made him up, but I think he might be around for a while.
M is for MAGIC
I totally, completely and utterly believe in magic. I'm a bit of a witch - I love spells and rituals and tarot cards and manifestation and synchronicity - but mostly I believe in the magic that happens when you are firmly in the flow of your life. When everything you touch turns to gold and miracles happen at every turn. I believe in the magic of connection and secret courtyards. I believe in the magic of the first flowers after winter. I believe in the magic of exploring and adventure. And I still believe that one day I will open a wardrobe and find Narnia.
Also, M is for MOLESKINE - my brand of choice for notebooks, journals and diaries. Hate their sketchbooks, though.
Also, M is for MORE - my very first word, and still (all these years later) my favourite thing in the world.
N is for NATURE
Nature - yuk, I hate it. Well, maybe hate is a bit strong, but I certainly don't trust it. I'm a born city girl, through and through. I love concrete and steel and the thrum of traffic. I was born in London, but when I was four years old my parents decided to move to the countryside when they realised that I was scared to walk in long grass. As soon as I moved back to a city as an adult I felt a peace and a calm settle over me. Don't get me wrong, I think nature is awesome - but I just have no desire to be in it. The closest I get to it is parks, where all the beautiful things of nature are contained and displayed in an orderly fashion. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but fuck it. Give me sirens and noisy neighbours and urban decay, for that is where I find my zen.
Also, N is for NICOLE - my best friend, my soul sister, my partner in crime. I love this woman with a passion bordering on the criminal.
Also, N is for NEIL GAIMAN - my mythical construct of the perfect man, based on the real life author. Keeping him in my head helped me navigate the murky world of dating and break some long-held unhealthy relationship patterns. I love the author too.
O is for OVERWHELM
I am an introvert (INFP according to the Myers-Briggs test), and a highly sensitive person (HSP), so overwhelm is a fairly constant companion of mine. I also have a brain which churns out exciting ideas like a mad glorious fireworks display and a very, ahem, optimistic approach to time-management. I'm getting better at it, slowly.
P is for PALAE BAR
Palae is the best bar in Copenhagen, possibly the world. It's smoky and boozy and full of art and music. It's been a Copenhagen institution for decades and is a mecca for artists and writers and musos and theatre types. I often go there to write in the afternoons. I'll allow myself a Marlboro Red or two (a rare treat as I'm mostly a non-smoker these days) and a glass of my beloved Tuborg beer, and soak up the artistic history to channel my inner Hemingway. The romance of it all delights me. I've made so many friends there and so many memories. I would probably live there if they'd let me.
Also, P is for PERIODS - periods are THE WORST. I hate them - PMS, cramps, tears, illness aggravation. They are a great excuse to stay in bed and eat chocolate, though. Every cloud...
Also, P is for PLEASURE - what's the point of anything else? Hedonist? Who, me?
Q is for QUIETUDE
Stillness is important to me. Whilst I love to dabble in the whirlwind of social interaction, I'm happiest when I'm alone, or with people who carry calm and stillness with them. I need to withdraw into the quiet of solitude often, especially when I'm creating something new. Peace and quiet is usually top of my wishlist.
R is for REST
Ah rest - I can never get enough of you. Dealing with chronic illness (see SICKNESS, below) and all the introvert/HSP nonsense, means I need A LOT of rest. Unfortunately, I'm very, very bad at it and have a tendency to tornado around my life until I crash and burn and have to spend a few days in bed recovering. I'm getting better at managing it and being less cavalier with my limited energy, but I'm still fairly hopeless at it. To be perfectly honest, I would rather live at 100 mph and then stop completely for a bit, than spend my whole life going at half speed. Maybe not the most sensible idea, but sometimes sensible is overrated. I want wild, glorious, life at full speed and in full colour - at least some of the time, anyway.
S is for SICKNESS
Six years ago I was rushed to hospital with a severe case of what was eventually diagnosed as Ulcerative Colitis - a chronic intestinal condition which affects not only my gut, but my joints and my energy levels and a whole host of other lovely surprises as well. It's mostly in remission these days but I've never managed to get back to my pre-sickness energy. It sucks, but I manage. And I'm uber-grateful for having The Spoon Theory to explain how having a chronic illness feels.
Also, S is for SHARING - I love sharing my story, I love sharing ideas, I love sharing information. I'm less thrilled about sharing chocolate, but nobody's perfect.
T is for TEACHING
Teaching is a relatively new delight for me. I always thought I was a terrible teacher - too impatient, too fast, too spiky - but after running a few workshops and foraying into the world of online teaching, I realised that I was just doing it in a way which didn't fit me. These days I'm more about sharing ideas and holding space for people to discover things on their own. My teaching style is more about facilitating than being didactic. As soon as I discovered that, it became easy and fun.
Also, T is for TRAVELLING - new places, new cultures, new sights and sounds and smells. Pure heaven! There is magic in movement.
U is for UNIBALL PENS
My absolute favourites for both drawing and writing. I have them in all the colours and I adore them. They're juicy and rich and the perfect thickness, and extremely cheap considering how awesome they are. I like them much better than the more expensive brands. They are the tools of my trade.
Also, U is for UK - I was born and raised there, but never felt like I belonged there. I don't think I'll ever go back (except for visits, obviously).
V is for VESTERBRO
Vesterbro is the area of Copenhagen where I live. It's very cool, a bit hipster, and a bit grubby round the edges (it's where the city's red light district is). I absolutely love it and I hope when I finally find my own place (see HOME above), it will be in this area.
W is for WOMAN
I am one, and very happy to be so. Despite all the hormones and periods and inequality and yuk, I would never want to be a dude. Women have a very special magic and wisdom that I love. Women know stuff, ancient stuff. Women are the givers of life. I am very proud to be a woman.
Also, W is for WOBBLY - my favourite kind of art is wobbly art. I see the world all wobbly and I love artists who see the same thing. Wobbly has soul.
Also, W is for WRITING - the way I make sense of the world.
X is for XXX
Sexy, sexy sex. I love sex - it's powerful and magical and awesome. Everyone should be having more of it.
Y is for YUMMY
The only criteria the food I eat needs to fulfill. Sometimes yummy is cake and beer, sometimes it's avocados and tomatoes and apples. I trust my body to tell me what it needs, when it needs it, and I honour that without fail. Nourishment for the soul is just as important as nourishment for the body, and abstinence has never worked for me (see PLEASURE above).
Z is for ZZZ
I could sleep through a nuclear holocaust. If not woken (violently) I have been known to sleep around the clock, sometimes twice. I am part dormouse and need a minimum of 10 hours a night to function properly. I love sleep with a passion, it's a huge source of pleasure for me. My favourite bit is being half awake and half asleep and sort of dreaming but consciously. It's not exactly lucid dreaming, but close. I solve all sorts of problems in that state and get fabulous creative downloads.