Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism


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Public education culture

It’s funny how different school experiences can be. As I’m a movie lover, I watch pretty much every movie I can get my hands on. Most movies we watch over here are American movies (though there are plenty of great European movies as well). Sometimes, these movies show “high school life” and “college life” in the US.

The funny thing is: Everything I believe to know about American schools is from movies. Like, that there are different groups: The drama club and the footballers and the cheerleaders. And then, everybody eats in a cafeteria, but who sits with whom is a big deal. And students wear specific clothing that outs them as a member of a specific group. This is also true for college, but there’s more: Some people are there because they are good footballers (what?!). Also, you have to take a lot of classes that have nothing to do with your major. People live in dorms and throw parties every other day.

Sounds grotesque? Well, that’s actually what I believe. Sometimes I wonder if it’s true because my school experience in Europe has been vastly different.

First off, there weren’t any “groups”. You generally were a group with the people in your year. You hang out with different people and it’s rare that someone is labelled in a specific way (except extreme nerds – but they’re generally still accepted). You have a group of friends, obviously, but these people aren’t necessarily your friends because you share extracurricular activities with them. In fact, there are next to none extracurricular activities. School is school, and free time is your own business. Of course we still have clubs over here, like a football club or something, but they are independent of the school you’re attending, so you might not meet a single person in your football group who also goes to your school.

Cafeterias are also different because schools here generally don’t have cafeterias. Schools out at 1 PM so nobody really needs lunch. The entire cafeteria deal is literally non-existent. This may change (or may have already changed) for some school forms but not for the one I attended. After school, you go home, eat lunch, do your homework, and then meet friends or go to your private clubs. It appears that school has a much more central spot in American teen’s lives because it takes up so much time of the day.

Overall, I had a very positive school experience. It wasn’t that peer-pressure thing homeschooling circles make it out to be. Actually, school here is much less central, and therefore much less influential in how teens design their lives and activities. Not that schools are bad here – remember that we actually go to school one year longer here than kids in the US (that is, 13 years instead of 12). Either way, all in all I can say that I’m happy I attended a public school once in my life. It was a great experience and thoroughly changed my views of public school education. School is always what you make out of it.

Likewise,  university is not what I thought it would be. I think this is something many people experience, but still. For one, there’s again the lack of extracurricular activities. Universities offer education, not hobbies. People are very particular when it comes to separating this. I think this may be because the German mindset is generally one of “keeping work and privacy separate”. I don’t think this is intrinsically bad, it’s just different from the US where it appears that privacy and public life (education-wise) are mixed a lot more. Either way, university is strictly about education and not much beyond that.

I read that some colleges or universities in the US require students to live on-campus for some time. There’s nothing like that here. I think people would be angry if they had to move due to university rules (again, job and privacy). Where you live, what you do, is your business – or your problem. This, of course, may be the reason why there are very few “college type parties”. I mean, I think if you live in a dorm it’s easier to throw a big party because you’re all in the clean-up together. When students live in their own apartments, they are often hesitant about inviting lots of people because they know they will have to clean up the mess themselves. It’s not that there aren’t any parties, but I’ve never seen an “American-sized” college party like in the movies. Or maybe they just really don’t exist in the US.

I think, on a more general level, life and culture differs vastly. I sometimes wish I could go to an American University for a semester to see what it’s really like. But then again, that’s not a financial option because I couldn’t afford tuition fees. I guess I will have to rely on movies and on the few lucky friends I have who get stipends for being super-smart (I don’t mean to sound jealous, by the way, these people work very hard for what they get!).

My personal University experience, again, is a very positive one. Cultural differences aside, I doubt that the home school circles really tell the truth about whatever they say about public education. It might not be for everyone, sure, but it’s certainly not a bad choice for most.

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Of free-ing the free?

I’m all for women’s rights, freedom and equality. If you look at the issue from all angles, you’ll realize that equality is easier said than done, and that sexism is not necessarily the result of religion but rather a symptom of a general disease, whether a community is religious or not.

Especially or “western” mindset makes us believe that we are the good guys, our way of doing things is the right way, and everyone who doesn’t do it this way is either a madman or an oppressed, weak woman. In this sense, we’re really not that different from all the “madmen” we want to protect women from.

I think this becomes especially evident if you look at the ways many westerners view the Islam, and especially muslim women. A woman who covers her hair is necessarily oppressed and needs our help to be set free. We cannot imagine that any sane person would choose to wear a hair covering because she wants to, Instead, us western, “civilized” and “free” women think we have to stand up for our “sisters” and free them. And if they tell us that they aren’t actually oppressed – well, they’re brainwashed. We have to show them the light.

The result of this is more often than not some sort of movement that instead of uniting women for a common cause tends to dig even deeper canyons between us. Take, for example, the “Femen” movement. All things aside of good intentions, strong women and important political causes. These are women who demonstrate against the oppression and objectification of women by going naked. This is somewhat similar to trying to extinguish a fire by pouring gas into it, in my opinion. In a world where women are objectified in every way possible, is there really a way to get a point across if you make yourself another object? Sure it gets the attention. But what do you think is going to happen in the minds of men who see these women? Are they going to think “Oh, that woman demonstrates against the exploitation of women as sex objects”, or are they going to think “Oh my gosh, BOOBS!”?

While I didn’t mind femen too much when they first started, I started to disagree completely with their methods when they started demonstrating against Islam. I’m not a muslim and have no interest in this religion (or any other, for that matter), and to be honest, I don’t care much whether you are a muslim or not (do whatever rocks your boat), but I don’t think it’s ok that a group of western women comes along as the knights in, well, no armor, I guess, to “free” women they have never asked if they actually need their help. I know plenty of muslims (there are very many in Germany). Some of them cover their hair, others don’t. Some are religious, others not. Some drink and eat pork, others don’t eat pork because they don’t like the taste (not for religious reasons, I was told pork is a taste you have to acquire), some stick to religious laws concerning their diet. Either way, it’s ok to do whatever you feel is right. One of the girls I study with wears a hjiab. She also cares about women’s rights. What makes us think that women who cover their hair are too stupid to free themselves? What makes us think that they’ll end up being thankful for helping them by demonstrating naked?

Even personally, I feel insulted. I used to be oppressed and brainwashed, but I don’t want some woman who hasn’t experienced the same thing to strip down naked and yell “freedom” in my name. It’s not the right way to appeal to the people you want to convince. If you said you’re going naked because you’d rather be naked than wear fur, I can understand why you would protest naked. But that’s not what’s happening here. What is happening is the idea that nakedness is the ultimate way to get what you want, to convince people. Sounds familiar? To me, that sounds about as terrible as any other form of oppression. Do I really want a freedom that we had to undress for? Do I really want to convince people by turning into an object that only gets the attention because it is a highly sexualized form of protest, often causing people to forget why you are undressing?

I think this entire discussion is a very difficult one. Of course there are brainwashed, oppressed women who could use some help. I was one of them. These women aren’t a phenomenon of Islam but a phenomenon of general society, and victims to men all over the world. On the other hand, plenty of women are well able to make these decisions for themselves, and don’t need our help – don’t need help at all because there isn’t a problem to begin with.

I think what should be remembered is that we need to move away from our western ideal of “freedom”. Freedom comes in many colors. Freedom includes the choice of dress, the choice of religion, and yes, also the choice to live a life that might not conform with our image of how women should live. Finding the balance is probably the biggest problem in all this. How do I balance helping women who really need help and hurting perfectly fine women because I demonize their way of life as “oppression”? I don’t have an answer to that, but if I find one, I certainly won’t be writing it on my bare breasts (and I ask you not to do that in anyone’s name either, unless you have their permission to do so).


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The things I really miss about America!

I decided to give yesterday’s post a bit more balance by describing some things that I really do miss about America.

1. Politeness. People are rude around here. Not really rude – just a lot more direct, I’d say. If they don’t like you, or don’t want to talk to you, expect to hear “I’m sorry but I don’t want to talk to you”. In America, people are much more friendly in that aspect. Even if they aren’t too fond of you, they’ll still help you. If you do something wrong in public here, you might get yelled at. In America, people are much more likely to politely ignore it.

2. Smile for once! Kind of in a bundle with politeness. People tend to have friendly looks on their faces in the US. They smile at people for no reason. They’re just … you know, they come across as much more friendly and more hospitable. If you’re an American and you’re thinking “That’s not true!”, please, come to Germany, and be convinced that it’s true.

3. Customer service. Non-existent in Germany. The checkout counter at the grocery store is a nightmare. The woman will be super fast and if you’re not fast enough at packing all your stuff away (because not a single grocery store has helpers!), the lady will just shove your stuff to the side. If you’re not prepared for that move, expect your stuff to drop to the ground. And if that happens – don’t expect a “sorry”. Expect a “why didn’t you get a cart goddamn!” (Uhmm, because I bought FIVE FRIKIN THINGS and you mean ol’ lady are totally overreacting?!).

4. Cash. Credit cards are about as normal as an elephant dancing in the middle of the street. Aside from bigger stores and gas stations, you’ll have a hard time finding places where EC is accepted. Restaurants and cafes? Cash. Smaller stores may even not accept EC (though it’s been getting better through the years I’ve been here). While that certainly helps you save some money, it’s annoying to be out and about, and then not have the cash for a cup of coffee. Where’s the next ATM? oh yeah, right over there – a mile away. Great. No coffee then.

5. Opening hours. There is no 24/7 in this country. Not a single one! Opening hours are something of a wild card. Everybody does what they want anyway. Except after 10 pm and on Sundays. And because all grocery stores are closed on Sundays, people go on saturday. This basically means that saturday at the grocery store is war – serious war. People shop as if all grocery stores were closed for a whole week on Saturdays. I’ve been told it’s a ritual. It’s just what you do. Well. It’s not fun.

6. Another thing about grocery stores: They are tiny. You have a hard time finding everything you want and need in one single store. It’s normal to run to 2 or 3 different ones. On Saturdays, of course. Cause that’s what you do. You’re lucky if the mean ol’ lady doesn’t beat you up with her walking stick on the parking lot (this, obviously, refers to point nr. 1).

7. convenience food. You’re groaning now, aren’t you? Blech, all she misses about America is convenience food? YES. YOU HAVE NO IDEA! convenience here means you still have to cook from scratch, it’s just the spices in the convenience food! There is no mac & cheese here! Actually, there is this weird pack for mac&cheese (with a big American flag on the packaging, teehee). It tastes nothing like mac & cheese, it actually tastes like thrown up mush. It’s terrible. There’s a store with an “American ethnic food” aisle here, but they don’t have much there. It’s very disappointing. I miss good mac & cheese, real BBQs and all that. Everybody who says America doesn’t have a food culture is an idiot. Southern cuisine goodies are unique.

8. Gas prices. Because gas costs an arm and a leg here (or, alternatively, your first-born son).

9. Friendships. Americans are big socializers. Friendships will come at a much faster rate, and your social net will be bigger there. It is hard to find friends here. Seriously hard. People are much more introverted and it takes a lot longer to reach a state where you can call somebody a “friend”. Though when you do find a friend, it will be genuine. It’s just so much harder.

10. National pride and holidays. People, please, on this year’s 4th of July, remember how lucky you are that you can celebrate this day without negative feelings. National pride is a negative word here (for obvious reasons). Nobody cares if you walk around with a flag in the US. The feeling of “one united nation” is much stronger. Enjoy that you live in a place where there is this type of community feeling. You don’t get that over here. Holidays are hardly ever celebrated as big as Americans do (except Christmas, that’s big here too). IDK why, but I feel that Americans simply have a more elaborated holiday and celebration-culture.

11. Politics. This is a very strange thing in both countries. In Germany, people aren’t really passionate about politics. It’s almost like they don’t even care. Yet, the percentage of people who go vote is much higher in Germany as it is in America. But in America, people are so much more passionate about it. Almost everyone has an opinion and discussing politics is a much more interesting topic than it is here. They actually care. I don’t know why so many people don’t vote despite the fact that it is a much more central issue in American social culture.

12. Religion. Yep, I said it. I like that people who are passionate about their religion don’t get funny stares. They do here. I’d go as far as saying that religious people here have to be embarrassed about their beliefs. Americans are a bit more open towards religiousness in general, and it’s also much more important to them. While it can be freeing to be relieved of religion, I also think it is very difficult for religious people here because they are seen as “nutheads” who don’t live in reality. Standing up to your beliefs is much more difficult, socially (mind you, I’m not talking politically, religious freedom is the same here. It’s a social/community issue).

Ok I’m going to stop here because I have to go to school, but it turns out I could easily add many more points to this list. I hope it is clear to everyone that these are not evaluations of better or worse, just like the last post. It’s just cultural differences. If we all were the same, wouldn’t that be really boring?

 


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I see nipples! Everywhere!

Not to insult the general idea or politics here. Not in the least! But there are significant cultural differences, specifically when it comes to religion, that make me believe that I could never have thrived the way I did if I stayed in the US.

1. Abstinence teachings do not exist. Actually, if you were to suppose someone teach abstinence in school, the answers would be “uhm. well. sure. as an alternative maybe. But kids still need to learn about condoms and body functions as well. You can’t leave that out!”. Does that mean we don’t have teen pregnancies over here? Heck no. We do. We have very similar problems! But, at least, none of those kids (especially girls) suffer from religious slut shaming. And even if that’s all that the lack of abstinence teachings accomplish, that’s still something.

2. Religion is something for your private life. Imagine someone on the street would walk up to you and tell you about their sexual kinks and ask you to try them too. That is the equivalent of people trying to impose religion on others here. It’s something that’s perfectly fine, but you keep it to yourself. You don’t encounter people with flyers or tracts or signs here. Nobody is friendly enough to accept them anyway – Germans deny being handed flyers they don’t care about on a regular basis. It wouldn’t make any sense.

3. Abortion clinic crowds. When Germans see pictures of demonstrations in front of abortion clinics, they react highly puzzled. “What’s that all about?” – “Don’t they… like… have jobs?” – “Is that their hobby or something?” It is very hard to make people understand why people in America do that. When they do understand, the reaction is usually something on the lines of calling it bad taste to harass people in a difficult life situation. I once heard of a catholic pastor demonstrating in front of an abortion doctor’s office. As far as I know, he came alone. That made it into the regional news. Just to give you an idea how exotic this is here – it even makes it into the news… Not that Germans don’t demonstrate. They love it. They do it all the time. Which is why you should plan your public transportation really well, because you are likely to catch a day where some flight personnel or some train personnel is off work for a demonstration (Hello German Railroads, we would love to have our trains on time JUST FOR ONCE!).

4. “So, do you plan on getting married soon?”. Germans find it very, very, very weird when people under 25 get married. 25-30 is still a bit unusual, but it doesn’t get you stares. If you were to marry at 18, people would stare at you in wonder and go “why….?”. Actually, getting married is pretty optional these days. Having a child out-of-wedlock gets you much less stares than a wedding before the age of 25.

5. Virginity before marriage? It’s not like people throw stones at you exactly, but that is very, very unusual here. You’d get some curious questions. People probably would understand your reasoning, but most cannot understand why it would be a big deal. And no, not everyone here sleeps around on orgies or has 15 lovers at a time or whatever negative you associate with it. It’#s just… not a big deal. You know? Nobody cares.

6. Sex and the public. Nudity is not something people get worked up over. Nursing in public happens all the time and without covers. You know why? Because people don’t care and don’t bother. Changing babies happens all the time. Because they don’t care, don’t bother. Topless women at the pool happen. People change (aka strip down completely naked) on pools and lakes. You know why? You should by now! I can’t even explain it really. They just… don’t… care…

All of these factors have been a major culture shock for me. At first, it was so hard. Seriously. So hard. Not to feel embarrassed when I sat next to a woman nursing without covers in public. Not to stare at people topless on the lake. Not to feel highly uncomfortable next to the girls in H&M who change in the middle of the shop (the lines for the fitting rooms are SO long!). It took me so long to be cool about it. And what took me even longer was realizing that nobody cared if I did these things.

I remember the first time I tried something on in the middle of H&M. Really, it’s very common here because you have to wait 20 minutes otherwise. I was in a hurry. I really wanted to try the dress. So my friend urged me: Just throw it on! Nobody cares! I let her convince me – nevertheless I prefered to do it in a far off corner. Of course, two girls were looking at the shirts there. One of them bumped into me when I was half undressed. She smiled and said sorry. And went her merry way. And I realized… nobody cares.

All of these things are so far away from everything I knew growing up. I think the fact that this is like a different world, so far away from everything I knew, really helped me. I wasn’t given the choice anymore. In America, you have the choice and the support to be against nursing mothers in public. You have the choice to freak out when you see a nipple on TV – and you WILL find support. Here, the “support” you will find is people shaking their heads and saying “Do you really have nothing else to do but get into other people’s business? If you don’t like it, you know… you’re free to leave the restaurant, or change the channel.” Yup, I think that’s the major point. Snooping around in other people’s business, telling them what to do or not to do, pressuring them with your “One true way” is just out-of-place. Do as you please, as long as others have the choice to look away.

Back at home I would have been very angry about this. I would have started screaming “But what about MY freedom? What about my freedom of speech and my right to be protected of other people’s nipples?!” I understand that now. I understand that this is a different culture, where freedom isn’t defined via being protected of other people’s bodies being naked, where demonstrating in the form some people do in front of abortion clinics isn’t valued as freedom of speech but as harassment (fyi, it is permitted to do it – just nobody feels like it’s an appropriate way to express opinions). Where you can say what you want, but you shouldn’t shove it down people’s throats. Where, when you see something that upsets you (but gives others joy), you just, for once, look away. At the end of the day, this really is a relaxing attitude. Because when you see a nursing mother, it is so much more relaxing to simply look away if it bothers you.

I wouldn’t even say that it is “better” over here. No. That’s comparing apples to oranges. Its different. Different culture, different lifestyle, not better, not worse, just different. This is purely about personal preference in the above issues and the way it’s helped me get away from old beliefs. If I didn’t come from the background I do, I might not even notice, or I might not see it as positive that abstinence is not considered in schools here. I think the best way to see it is in form of phases in life. And right now, for me personally, it is best to be immersed in a world so completely different from the one I knew. Maybe that will change tomorrow, or in 2 years, or in 10. Until then, I will enjoy a different lifestyle, knowing that I, as a rich American-European girl, have the ability to choose a different one whenever I please. And that, suddenly, reminds me that there are much bigger problems in the world than nipples on TV.


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Where am I (and how many?!)

I was shocked to see that my last post has been posted WEEKS ago! Well, I figured I’d update you. I am not sick or anything, and I have not lost interest in blogging! I actually try to follow my favourite blogs as much as I can.

I’ve taken a whole bunch of classes for this semester and I’m simply drowning in schoolwork! Turns out law is even more of word-for-word-studying than you would think. I mean seriously, I’m starting to get why people fail this by the bunch. It really is a lot of learning by heart and if that’s not the method for you, you’re doomed. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sat and read something, trying to memorize it, and then realizing that “well, this refers to paragraph so and so, but that one refers to article 7 billion and if I include that, I’ll also have to read that other paragraph and… Oh well. Might as well memorize the whole book now! ARGH!”

Other issues I have encountered are, for example, my lack of Latin skills. Which are zero. I truly understand why this was demanded years ago. Especially in classes like history of law or philosophy of law, there are so many latin terms and it’s so tiring to look everything up when others who know latin consider that a walk in the park (same with greek!). Phew.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the challenge and I love seeing the rewards for my work. But I’ll have to admit: I didn’t think it was going to be easy, but I also didn’t think it was going to be THIS hard. I don’t get why people talk about “college life” and all those parties and stuff. WHO has time for that haha

Either way, I’ll be off to more memorizing, and I hope you’ll all have a great day and I’ll be back with more (and more interesting) posts as soon as I can. Until then, don’t forget to wish me luck for the next round of exams!


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Ex-Evangelicals and Catholizism

Many evangelicals are fascinated by the Catholic churches once they leave their old lifestyle. I realized that I share the same fascination. And today, I want to say something about that.

Living in southern Germany, I’m naturally surrounded by more catholics than I was back in the US. Many people here are catholic, the catholic churches are prominent buildings in pretty much every city, Catholicism is simply a part of the history of this area and that shows. If you take a hike in the woods, you’re likely to encounter old statues and tiny little chapels dedicated to Virgin Mary or another Saint.

The members of my German family are catholic as well, as is my boyfriend, hence I can hardly escape catholic life and ritual.

And I have to admit that I like it.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the mexican traditions of day of the dead – you have seen it, heard about it. What I didn’t know (and I’m sure you don’t know, either) is that there is a similar tradition that’s lived out in German catholic communities. Here, the catholics too decorate the graves of their loved ones with rather expensive flower arrangements. The graves are completely made up – softening the soil, planting new plants, scrubbing the stones, replacing broken decorations and so on. On All Hallows day (day after Halloween), the families go to the graves in the morning and the catholic priest hold a mass on the cemetery. It is impossible not to attend this if you have catholic family. Especially when there are multiple graves, you need everyone you can get. That is because on every grave of the family, at least one family member must be during the mass. Hence it is common for families to split up in order to have somebody by everyone’s grave. This year, it was me standing by the grave of my grandmother’s sister, who did not have any children of her own. After a round to visit every grave of the family and praying a short prayer, everyone went to their designated family member. As you can see, extended family counts as well, and it’s on you to take care of the dead when they don’t have any direct descendants. (picture: German cem before the beginning of the mass)

It felt weird, standing there, remembering a woman I never met (she died young), knowing that I was the only relative to think of her that moment. I could not help but fervently try to pray along Mary’s prayers as well as I could, which felt even weirder. But, despite the weirdness and unfamiliarity of all this, it felt good.

I liked standing there, the entire cem filled with people. Some graves had only one person standing next to it (like me), others had large families huddled around them.

And what felt even better? Realizing that catholics aren’t as “lunatic” as they’re made out to be. When the priest went into a lengthy prayer, asking God to take the sinners to heaven who weren’t ‘saved’ in their lifetime, praying for those who do not know the gospel and nevertheless act according to it in their best conscience, and pretty much for everyone to be saved despite their wrongdoings. Yes, Catholicism feels much more “real”, much more doable, much more just to the realities of life.

I do not think that I will become a catholic because, to be quite honest with you, right now I have no taste to actually “live” religion. But nevertheless, Catholicism is fascinating and, once you get over the evangelical viewpoint, very beautiful.


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I did NOT explode…

…but my brain just might, haha!

I will make this confession – I imagined this to be so much easier. I thought I’d still get around to blog once a week and feel good and all, but now I haven’t posted anything substantial in like two months and I can finally admit that I completely overestimated myself.

University is much harder than I expect – and it’s not even because of the classes. No, it’s because it’s confusing. It’s new people, new contacts and with them, new disappointments. Like that one guy who you were supposed to give a presentation with, only he never did anything and didn’t show up to class that day, leaving you to fill his part as well. Or like the study group which turned out to be shallow young girls discussing their disturbing, yet quite interesting sex lives (is dressing up sexy just to get a guy fall in love with you and then tell him that you despise him just for the fun of seeing his heart break a new sport?).

I wondered about the high rates of failure and drop-outs. Now I can totally see where a large chunk comes from. They fail tests because they don’t show up for class. Because they think seven days is enough to study for a big exam. Because they are young and wild and they still have so much time on their hands and no worries that failing is a part of it – it’s not that bad, they’re all still trying to find their ways.

Only it’s different for me. I’m not “that young” anymore, meaning I’m not 18, fresh out of high school, just testing the waters. I want to get somewhere, I need to get somewhere. I’m 25 and if I manage the average number of semesters to graduate law, I’ll be 32. These younger ones, they can mess up a year or two and still graduate under 30. I guess, simply because I’m older, and more experienced (without sounding patronizing), I have a different view on life. I’m sure they will too by the time they hit their mid twenties. It’s just a point where you realize you won’t be young forever, you won’t manage to live with the excuse “I’m young, I have plenty of time” for much longer.

I thought I’d be better off if I knitted some contacts with the younger group because I feel I’m more on their level mentally (if that makes sense), but it turns out that I feel like a child even next to some 18 year olds but still have different ideas of how I should handle life. And I guess that’s ok.

I now found a slightly older crowd my age (all mid and late 20s) who are first semesters as well. I feel like they understand much better where I come from, though many of them are much more mature mentally than I am. But that’s ok too. Given how “unique” us ex-fundies are, I’d have a hard time finding anybody like me around here. Maybe that would be different in the US where there are good networks of ex-fundies, but not here.

And it’s not just school. Work has become a drag because it robs so much of my time. I get home and I want to spend time with D or my friends, and yet I should do homework, housework, whatever. I’m trying to find a routine of doing the chores and meeting my social needs, but to be quite honest with you guys, my home is a mess.

A few days ago I didn’t even manage to put the dishes into the dishwasher. I had no time at all and I was tired enough to drop. So I left them standing there, rotting all by themselves.

Last week, I didn’t make my bed – two days in a row!

Two weeks ago, I had to go to school with disgusting hair because I had no time to wash it.

And the floor in my bedroom looks like a mix of a library and a paper recycling station. My desk, my beautiful “old made new with my own hands” desk? I haven’t seen that since the second week of school. I am wondering whether it is still there, somewhere under all those books and papers. It might just have vanished into thin air.

Yes, you see, it’s hard, and I would love to add more, but I’m heading off to work now and these five minutes it took to write this post are all I could spare. To everyone who has been through this: How did you manage?!