Ettalin; “May Destiny Be Kind To You”

My bucket list mentions several writing projects. One of them is what I have thus far dubbed the Primary Trilogy; a collection of books based on blue, red and yellow, respectively. The reason for these colors is three dragons who play a main role. Their scales have those colors, I’m sure you could guess that.

Though I am willing to tell the plot of the Primary Trilogy as soon as I’m done plotting, I can not do that yet. It is still in progress. It is a slow but that nonetheless. Meanwhile, I have been working on something related to it (in what little time I have). I have been working on something called Ettalin.

I’m sure your first thought is, “What the heck is Ettalin?” Well, dear reader, I will explain that!

Ettalin is the language used in the Primary Trilogy by the dragon race. They were the creators of the language and gifted it to other races of the land. Since dragons are the closest link to magic, it is also the tongue of magicians.

Creating a whole new language is hard work. You need to come up with rules for grammar (or use native ones but I’m choosing not to). I have a lengthy document with words and phrases of importance. There are also small paragraphs to explain how sentences need to be constructed. There are also certain ways to greet other individuals that I’ve elaborated. The oldest children are called differently than the younger ones. It’s pretty complex.

Of course, there will be a lot of things missing from the language. I don’t need a complete language since I will only be using the language in small portions. When writing spells or small portions of conversations, I will use it. I can also use it when the characters are learning about the world and magic. I can title certain factions or locations accordingly but that is about the extent of language I need.

It’s a fun endeavor. I am even changing numbers. Instead of going by 10’s, I am going by 8’s. I drew eight shapes to match the numbers, too. There is a ton of information about seasons too. There are colors and gemstones, animals and weather.

There is a ton of information and it is almost impossible to keep everything organized. I’ve been considering using Scrivener for it. It would definitely help keep things organized. If anyone would like to donate a subscription, that would be wonderful. Joking, of course.

While typing this post, I wanted to come up with a nice way to end it. I spent a while skimming through my document to find out how I would translate the sentence in my mind while still using the right grammar rules. The sentence is as follows:

“Lez kwanye yull penga’nt amirl ai fayamay’nt am Vinn.”

Now, I know that looks like a bunch of jumbled letters to everyone. So in an attempt to teach a bit of Ettalin to my readers, I will explain how I came up with it.

The sentence states that I am wishing a pleasant destiny to you forever. The sentence literally translates to the following:

“I wishing if destiny’s kindness in forever with you.”

The sentence suggests something that is not necessarily true. Reality can be different. When you say, “That ball is blue.” you are describing a ball. There is certainty. You can look at the ball and know if it is blue. It is not the case with this sentence.

When suggesting something, a wish in this case, you use ‘kwanye yull’ after stating who wishes it. If you yourself wish it, you say ‘lez’ (“I”). If it is a general wish with no one stating it, you do not mention anyone.

‘Penga’nt’ is a contraction of ‘penga int’ which translates to ‘destiny’s’ or ‘of destiny’. ‘Amirl’ is the word for kindness and peace; a harmony. It is a sensation without a clear translation. In the way it is used here, it means ‘destiny’s kindness’.

‘Ai fayamay’nt’ is literally ‘in forever’s’. Here too you see the contraction with the word ‘int’, meaning that what comes next belongs to the word before it. ‘Fayamay’ is something endless and eternal. So if something belongs to it, that something would also be endless. Though you’d expect that something would come after ‘fayamay’nt’, I have decided that that contraction by itself is simply the way ‘forever’ is said; in regards with the rest of the explanation here.

Finally we have ‘am Vinn’. This is literally ‘with you’. There are two ways to spell ‘you’. One is formal and the other is informal. Because I do not know my readers, I have chosen to use the formal version that is ‘Vinn’. The informal version would be ‘vin’; one less letter and no capital.

So, that has been a brief lesson on Ettalin. Don’t worry, I won’t be quizzing you on it.

Anyway; till next time and lez kwanye yull penga’nt amirl ai fayamay’nt am Vinn!

 

Help Me Write!

Upon this very early morning, I was working on a project for university involving a marketing plan for a real company. While I was typing away about the company’s current plan and direction, I had some tender music playing. The cause of the music was to create a certain mood; a sensation.

I spent several hours trying to figure out what I could do with it. I had an idea for it, yes, but I wasn’t sure how to transform the feelings into actual words. I wanted to write it into a very passionate story full of emotion and calls to one’s heart (or of course; I’d attempt this). Many scenes flashed before my eyes. Two characters appeared in my mind and it was obvious to me that they’d have to be madly in love with each other. But what else?

For the life of me, I could not come up with a setting, a plot, an antagonist for one of these characters or both. There’s a powerful sensation of inspiration and dedication as well as confidence that it can be ‘good’. But there is more to a story than just the wish to make it something that an audience will enjoy.

That is why I find it a tad humorous when people tell me, “Write something!” when I indicate that I’m not sure what to do with my spare time. If it were as easy as simply doing it, I’d have tons of stories. They wouldn’t be good, but they’d be there. I think many writers face such a dilemma. There is a drive to write. There is a desire to create but all the while one element is lacking.

There could be no good characters. There could be no conflict. There could be plot holes. There could be no plot at all. There could be a lack of time or consistency. There is a lot to consider when structuring a story as well as creating it. I have the utmost respect for people who start writing and simply go with it and create something very good. These are the people I admire more than the writers who spend ages writing and revising their work. It is not because they succeed quickly, but they succeed mainly on their own willpower.

I considered time and time again to make a habit out of writing. I got around to doing so last year but with the emergence of my schoolwork, it seems my teachers believe I don’t have other passions outside of the pursuit of my dreams.

Of course I’m excusing myself now. If I really wanted to, I could make a habit out of writing but as I said before, if I do so after a long day, I will be bad. It will be very bad. Nothing about it will be good. I’m not even sure if the practice would help since it would be forced after a day of homework and study.

Nonetheless; I still want to make it happen, so I can eventually finish Nivitera’s Promise; my main project. Even my uncle is asking about it now. ‘How’s the novel going?” he’ll ask. I always feel a bit sad when I need to tell him that there hasn’t been any progress aside from a bit of world building or vague plotting.

So in an attempt to find a way to make room for writing a bit now and then in my hectic schedule; I turn to the internet. Do you have tips for me? Any and all ideas are welcome.

Thank you in advance!

Meanwhile, in Politics…

It has become a daily occurrence that the news broadcasts a ridiculous story about Mr. Trump. In my mind I often compare him to a toddler. He is going about his office and decides what things he doesn’t like. He complains about it and then attempts to throw it out the window. Coincidentally, everything Mr. Trump seeks to destroy is something I highly value.

In Trumpland

He is ridding science of their freedom of speech (censorship of scientific departments). Luckily however, science is fighting back. Rogue accounts have appeared all over Twitter to continue informing the public. Furthermore, scientists and supporters of science have banded together. The March for Science will be a nationwide (if not worldwide) attempt to force Trump to revoke his decision.

Mr. Trump is trying to fight terror. He does this by banning people who have nothing to do with terrorism at all. His so-called ‘Muslim ban’ inconveniences countless people from countries of which the majority are Muslim. It takes the minimum effort to know that Islam is not the same as ISIS. Muslims do not support ISIS. Also, the American President made up an ‘alternative fact’ about Sweden to attempt to gains support for his ban.

On the notice of alternative facts and the two decisions explained above, there is another noticeable problem. Misinformation is one thing the president himself excels at. It seems that he hopes the entire USA will follow in his footsteps by making up lies, changing factual numbers (that can be obtained through one Google search), obscuring reality, changing what people (including himself, most commonly) said and of course the detrimental state of the Department of Education. They too have managed to offend multiple people as well as continuing the stream of vague information.

The environment is something else I am very passionate about. I don’t speak of it often enough on my blog but it is something that is on my mind more often than not. Earth needs us to change. Change will have to be worldwide. If everyone changes their way but the USA does not, it will hardly make a difference. However this is what Mr. Trump seeks to do. He is eager to get rid of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and he wishes to pull out of the Paris Agreement; an agreement made by countless nations to minimize their greenhouse emissions. Then again, Mr. Trump is convinced that climate change is a hoax.

Something else worth mentioning is that Mr. Trump will get rid of Obamacare as soon as he can. We also know he is eager to build his infamous wall. He will tax Mexico’s products so he can afford this wall—all the while ignoring the fact that it will be the US citizens paying these taxes and not Mexico—to keep out the people who are helping him gain these taxes.

There are a lot of things wrong with this man and his decisions. These are but a few I have boiling at the moment. Before the elections, I did not wish to be one of the people to rant about this man’s visions although I had opinions a plenty. I wanted to see how he would play the game before making any written judgements. Hence; here is my post about it.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands…

In my own country, we don’t have people of such extreme calibers. Yes, we have those who don’t agree with the open borders of the EU. Yes, we have people who want more individual freedom for investors. No one goes much further than that. No one is looking to censor, ban or otherwise inconvenience thousands of people.

On the contrary!

We have a party oriented towards the wellbeing of elder people. There is a party geared towards the protection of animals, as unbelievable as that might sound to most Americans. We have a party that is geared towards the average person; students and laborers. We have a party who focuses on maintaining the environment and expanding on green fuel. Of course we also have the parties geared towards lowering taxes and increasing infrastructure. There is a party who wants to close the border and separate from the EU.

In less than a month, everyone who has a Dutch nationality or a legal permit of residency may vote for the Second Chamber. The members of the First Chamber make laws and then send them to the Second Chamber. The Second Chamber may then approve or decline these rules. If one party earns 40% of all the votes after election day, they will have 40% of the seats in the Second Chamber (and no, there is no Electoral College to intervene). The party with the highest percentage of votes will have the head of their party be the prime-minister. This person is a figure-head, a spokesperson. They do not have power. They are but a symbol.

It is obvious that the Dutch government is a lot more diverse than America’s. We do not go by an all-or-nothing principle. This way—no matter who you vote for—your vote will matter. You could cause the difference in that extra percentage that your party earns and thus another seat. Therefore, the ideas the party supports have a bigger chance of being approved. Now isn’t that a delightful idea?

Here’s to hoping

I know Americans are more rooted in traditions. People have always voted Democrat/republican so they will do so again; regardless of the candidate. If anything, I hope that Trump’s extreme attitudes will lead to one thing; that the American people will open a newspaper, a book, a magazine or will turn on the news more often. I hope they will observe the goings-on and make decisions based on their own values and what they think is ethically correct. Here’s to hoping Trump’s terrible ways will lead to wonderful ways.

30 Thoughts on Heartbreak

In the eyes of many, I am but a youngster. I am only 23. They’d think I have no knowledge of the world—and they are probably right. Yet I still wish to share some wisdom I gathered over my own years of interacting with humanity. Today I’d like to talk about heartbreak; not to be mistaken with the medical condition heartbreak syndrome. I mean the kind that one experiences after having loved and lost.

As someone who (thinks she) has experienced this, I’d like to share a few thoughts here with those who have hurt and still do.

  1. Accept that it hurts. Allow the emotions to affect you.
  2. Allow yourself to cry. It is not a sign of weakness. If it happens then let it.
  3. Let the people in that are there. They are the ones who care; they are your friends. Let them help you. They will prove to be invaluable.
  4. Know that it is okay to linger. You don’t need to be over this person immediately.
  5. Give up on obtaining a reason or an answer. None you will get will satisfy you; if you get any at all.
  6. Remember to hold off on doing things that you might regret.
  7. It will be a long time before you no longer think of that person at all times. It will happen some day, but it might not be soon.
  8. The dreams of this person will also fade some day.
  9. This also goes for the thought of picturing him or her in your future.
  10. Listen to sad songs and allow them to affect you if they do.
  11. Just because this person doesn’t love you does not mean no one ever will.
  12. Wine is okay but don’t overdo it multiple nights.
  13. Drink with company and confide in them if you decide to drink.
  14. When you see them with a new significant other, you are allowed to be upset or mad but do not hate the new person. They are not to blame.
  15. Remember that every hurt is a lesson to be learned from and to grow from.
  16. Social media should not turn into your diary. You’ll regret posting all your feelings on it.
  17. A physical diary is however a good idea. Keep one if you wish and write all your thoughts and emotions in it; no matter how jumbled and random they are. Expressing yourself is a great remedy.
  18. There will be sleepless nights. They will be lonely. They will be harsh and cold. Remember that the sun always returns after the night. So too will light come back to your life.
  19. Wallowing is okay.
  20. The best remedy will always be time. It is not an instant remedy of course but it will definitely heal you eventually.
  21. Rebounds don’t work. Maybe for the first month they will help you forget the hurt but eventually your wounds are bound to open and cause more chaos than before you found your rebound. It’s better to wait and see what the future brings than seeking out a human medicine.
  22. The only one who can complete you is you. No other person can do this.
  23. Even though you’d likely rather be lazy and hide under your blankets, try to do something to grow. Read or do something else that helps your mind. It’s not only a pleasant distraction but it’s a way to spend your time.
  24. If you feel you were the one that loved more, know that that too is okay.
  25. It is okay to never want to speak to that person again. If they want to be friends and you don’t, then don’t. Let them go.
  26. A day will come when you no longer wish for their company. Allow such thoughts to overwhelm you. Enjoy them.
  27. Physical activities will help let go of stress and tension. Exercise, go for walks, run a distance, take the bike somewhere but just do something when you feel your body becoming extremely tense.
  28. Know that you are not the only person who had their heart broken. Many people on this planet experienced it and made it through. You can do the same.
  29. Know that someone better will come along some day. This person will outshine the person that hurt you in so many ways that you will be shocked to know that it was even possible.
  30. Finally; know that you are a strong, unique person that deserves to be loved. You will grow and be stronger. You will find someone better and you will grow with confidence and happiness in ways that the previous person would not have been able to give you. Perhaps they might even dare to look upon you one day and realize they made the biggest mistake of their life. They probably did.

I wish endless strength to those who are dealing with an aching heart at the moment. May destiny be kind to you all.

Through Reading

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Today (or rather yesterday since it’s already Saturday) I spent many hours scanning the internet to increase my stock of physical reading material. There is a ‘gap’ on my bookshelf, you see. I feel it needs to be filled.

I typed a few key words into the search bar of a website I enjoy browsing. I hoped to find new titles that I had not come across before. It began to don on me though; my appeal towards English books has drastically increased. In the past, I have commonly preferred English books if that was the original language. Nowadays I find my tolerance of Dutch writings declining even more. I feel that my education is to take partial responsibility for this yet it remains to be a peculiar change.

I ordered a total of five books. Three out of these five are English titles. One of the novels is about writing my preferred genre. I thought there would be no better way to learn than through the language I like to write in as well. The second novel was a fiction story I had read when I was younger. The final one was a language-oriented book. As I am doing in university at the moment too, I feel comfortable learning a new language from the English point.

English is a rich language. Therefore I think it can expand lushly into the new, foreign language. While in Dutch we have but one word for something, in English there is an abundance of words, phrases and expressions to lead to the same outcome. This means, to me, that the language has a more poetic allure to it. This is also why I prefer its embrace for my own words and stories. It is even commonly the voice of my thoughts. It has been that for well over a decade even before I started my education that is taught strictly in the English language.

Dutch can come across as a very professional language however. It gets to the point very quickly rather than hovering in empty space filled with poetry. This is likely a consequence of Dutch culture. The Dutch are very straightforward people. We enjoy getting to the point. We find it displeasing when people beat about the bush. The Dutch are often thought of as rude or blunt for speaking so openly. It is not seen likewise by fellow Dutch citizens. In our opinion, withholding the truth is rude instead.

Language is a powerful tool. That is why I aim to learn multiples. As I am increasing my understanding of the cultures from which the languages descend, I am starting to make connections. It is interesting to me. It reveals ‘aha’ moments for me and points to facts that I had never thought of before. When I was in high school, I had to analyze novels very intimately. In comparison to my current knowledge, the thoughts I had about the stories then was miniscule.

I am one who lives through the mind. I like to know and understand. It is a path to wisdom, I am willing to believe. That is why I have set myself on the path to understanding the world and its many languages; even if I can only learn but a handful of them. For through the understanding of a language, I can learn all that the natives of that language have uncovered in turn. It is a doorway to an enormous castle of renewed sources and I have found the key. All that is left for me to do is to turn it.

All The Romantic Things I’ve Done

No, this isn’t going to be a list about how I listened, how I let him be himself or how I supported him. I did those things in my own special way every time, of course. Here’s a list of things that are more up my alley and a bit more personal, I think.

  • This painting: I made the painting posted here. It’s the Eiffeltower with two people in front of it being affectionate. I boxed it up and sent it across the seas as a surprise gift. The person it was for and I wanted to go see the Eiffeltower at night to enjoy the lights. We never got to do so.
  • Wrote a love letter: I don’t mean a kindergarten crush that I worte a letter for. No, this one was a bit more ‘legit’, as the kids would say. I cut out small flowers and leaves. I put two on the bottom right corner of a blank page and used my printer to copy as many versions as I needed. I wrote what I wanted to say in a document first. I placed the pages with the flower over lined paper so I could write everything neatly on the lines, too. I folded up the pages, put them in an envelop, put a world stamp on it and sent it off with the mail along with my hopes. It was one of those ‘I-miss-you’ letters.
  • Poetry: I’m sure I’m not the only person who tries their hand at poetry now and then. Let’s be honest, love is inspiring. I wrote a good few poems. I haven’t done it in the past four or so years however.
  • Composing: My guitar is always my second love and at times my first if there is no significant other. I am also fond of singing. I learned a good few chords and got into the habit of writing songs when I was 16. This habit never really ended unlike poetry. Of course, sometimes I am feeling more inspired than others. Sometimes I can write multiple songs at the same time while other times I go months without any new works. I’ve written love songs of different kinds. There are the ‘hey-I-like-you-so-lets-give-it-a-shot’ songs. There are those themed ‘I’m-so-happy-to-be-with-you’ and of course the ‘I-miss-you-for-some-reason’ songs.
  • Decorated picture frame: I took out my paints and colored a wooden picture frame. I made it all red and orange and yellow; very warm colors. I realize now that I could’ve put a nice picture of myself in it, too.
  • Drew characters from a story I let him read: It’s no secret that I am someone who likes to write. First I sent a printed version of a short novel I wrote. Later I sent a picture of two important characters form it that I drew. This is probably not too meaningful to most but to me it felt nice to do it since he said he really enjoyed the story.

There’s also a few things I still want to do some day. One of them would be leaving notes around; sticky notes with small messages for the person to find. I also want to prepare dinner for if he’s coming home late and I can’t be there with a note of how long he should put it in the oven for or such. It’s all about the little things, no?

I’ve also been waiting for the opportunity to use an idea that has been lingering for a while now. It’s a combination of a coupon book and the Christmas advent calendar. I think it is especially fun for long distance couples who don’t get a lot of time together. Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Create a nice picture either on cardboard or a canvas. This can be a drawing, a painting or a blown-up picture.

Step 2: Find sticky notes or other small paper and make an estimate of how many you would need to cover the entire thing in a neat fashion. Sticky notes would be especially easy so you can put them on and remove them later.

Step 3: Say you’d need 48 squares of paper/notes. You come up with 48 things. These things can be little messages or even activities you can do. You could offer an amusement park day or a home-cooked meal or even watching their favorite show together. Put anything on it you want. You can use the internet for this.

Step 4: Now take your papers. Write the message or activity on one side. On the other you can put something decorative. When using sticky notes, write the text on the side of the note that has the ‘sticky stuff’ on it.

Step 5: Next you place all the cards onto your board/canvas. Sticky notes make it especially easy to do this because you can easily put them on. Place the cards text down. For non-sticking cards you can use a small piece of tape and attack the paper for a small portion. They need to be attached in a way that they can be easily removed without bringing harm to the image below.

Step 6: The final step is to execute the board. Allow your partner to pick off cards either a few times a day or once a day. This can be up to you entirely. If you want to fill a few months, you can do daily. If you only have a few weeks, you can do this multiple times a day. It’s also possible to take turns removing the cards. Do the activity mentioned or plan it. Read message cards to them. When you finish off the last cards, what remains will be the image underneath all the previously placed cards. This can be given as a present at the end.

I am not seriously hoping for a chance to find someone who I want to do this for. I wouldn’t object to finding someone like that but time will tell.

 

Starting Again

fireworksTo all those who happened upon this blogpost; I wish you a happy new year filled with happiness, health, fortune, love and wisdom. Make this a year worth remember. I’m going to be doing the same. Each weekend I’m going to write down something good that happened the week before. I will collect them all in my everything-journal so I have something fun to look at when the next new year is nearing.

Do I have resolutions? No, not for the new year. I make them throughout the year when I feel pleased to. I’ve been wanting to write more but sacrificing my studies for it wasn’t an option. Which brings me to what I do have this year; goals.

One of them is that I want to earn what we call a ‘propedeuse’. The propedeuse is the first 60 credits that you can earn in the first year. My goal, of course, is to get all of them the first year. So far I gathered all the credits I could. My propedeuse, or as Google translates it, foundation classes, will give me qualifications for various other studies.

One of these is European Language and Culture, taught at the university of research sciences in the next big city. It’s a small trip away from me. I’d like to continue my studies by applying for that. It is a course consisting of three years where you pick two main branches (culture, language and literature or politics and society) and also a main language and region. My goal is to learn about Sweden.

Of course another goal is to travel; possible to Stockholm as well. In May I have an excursion planned as well. My school offered a select amount of places to visit Madrid for an intensive Spanish course to expand on what we are learning this first year. I completed my payment for the trip this very morning.

Besides these, I still have a pile of stories I want to write. I have my big project that is still underway. I decided to write the entire story first, as long as that will be. Then I can continue editing and decide if I will cut it into smaller pieces. I’m maybe about a third done with the whole plot and knowing me, the remaining plot will still expand as I go along. There are tons of backstories to look at and characters who want their voices to be heard. So besides the scenes I have been envisioning, there will surely be plenty more to come.

I don’t have many other goals. I don’t plan on buying another fish although I only have one left (the other passed away). I am still not allowed to adopt a cat. I’m not interested in love at the moment. This is mainly because my studies swallow up plenty of time. I don’t want to have to diminish my time for studying just to spend it with someone. I’d rather give all my attention to my studies and tread through those before anything on that front happens.

I still plan to do creative things now and then. This helps me get my mind off of studying for a bit. It pulls me out of stressful thoughts. Recharging is important!

As always, I hope to learn new things and grow as a human being. I hope I can remain close friends with the people that are already in my life and that I might meet new ones. I hope to grow as a person and develop myself. I hope to gather more wisdom so that in about 365 days I can look back and nod to myself and know that I am a better person than I was before.

I also wish for the same that I wished every reader at the top of this blog; happiness, health, fortune and love for the entire year to come.

Caeirys (Prologue)

Several weeks ago, I experienced a dream that was as lively as they could be. The colors were bright and the places seemed real (although not familiar). The dream stuck with me for such a long while because of its amazing storyline, that I decided to write it; with a few additions here and there to spice it up. For example, the whole start of the story is made up. There were no ‘catowls’ in my dream (you will see what they are below). The woman that is spoken of below had a few different attributes but she was there. The golden dragon did not appear in my dream. Nonetheless; feel free to read on if you want a high fantasy story to enjoy. This is only the prologue so far.

Consider this a Christmas present, if you wish to. Thus; happy holidays and I hope you will enjoy this creation of mine.

Note: Caeirys is only the working title.

Prologue

In ancient tales, people spoke of creatures upon wings mightier than those of the strongest hunting birds. The might within claw and fang unmatched by any human sword. Courage and wisdom both untamed and illogical to simple minds of mankind. They became rulers. These kings and queens of their respectable realms were without throne and crown. They needed not royal gemstones to emphasize their place in the world. Their reigns were evident through their unwavering might. Their benevolence remained upon the tongue of many for centuries after. Names echoed within songs and were immortalized upon parchment. Mankind spoke of the dragons.

One such queen was what scholars would later refer to as a ‘Great Red’; a dragon of crimson scales and impeccable majesty. Her brilliance was unmatched by stars and the sun. She was a drop of vital essence against the daylight sky and a speck of mystery within the moon’s domain. A spectacular wingspan provided a canvas for dreams of the young and innocent to be painted upon. They saw patterns within them that inspired their feeble hearts. Caressing light as dim as clouded skies danced upon her scales. Countless small plates of armor covered her fearsome body in a coat of tiny shards that seemed to have descended from deadly roses themselves. Her horns and talons seemed to have been carved from a delicate stone of rosewood pigments and finely shaped by divine smiths. They were both fatal weapons as well as impeccable treasures for her physique. Beneath her tender lids lay bright irises of emerald hue within which existed a large black pupil that shone with wisdom and pride. This splendid collection of superior attributes made her an extraordinary specimen of her own species. She bore the name Caeirys; meaning ‘clarity of the sunrise’.

From her early age onwards, Caeirys placed her name within the minds of those she encountered and within the minds of those who heard tale of her ventures across the vast landscape. Throughout all her endeavors she remained true to both her titles. She was forever a Great Red but also a symbol of the rising sun. The allure of her legends was strong and never ceased after her final sighting.

Her tale begins with the flight of a lone dragon during a fall evening. This creature was armored in gold and covered in silver embellishment. Equally impressive were his talons within which he carried a red object. The oval object glowed with a soft intensity before dimming again. It was a slow pattern that seemed soothing. However the dragon carrying the soothing object felt not this way. In his heart he felt worry and a need for haste. His journey destined him for a large tower that stood within an abandoned valley. Few roamed to these reaches. Little was to be gained here. A mission that weighted on this dragon’s aged mind however had pushed him to pursue the destination.

Against a backdrop of golden and red abstractions he could see the looming tower. It’s grey walls were covered in an orange glow from the setting sun. He could feel the warmth of the large star upon his scales. It made him feel calmer yet also more persistent. He flapped his wings vigorously before gliding. The structure before him came nearer to him. The golden dragon leaned upon the currents to glide around the tower to the opposite end where he found an opening large enough for his own form. There he swooped in. After thrusting his wings forward to lessen the impact of his flight, did he land upon tender feet. His talons created a soft clicking sound as they connected with the stone earth below.

While he regained his posture from the landing, his silver eyes cast about. All he found within the vicinity was a creature that was both cat and owl. With the head and tail of a cat and the body, wings and claws of an owl, it was the perfect combination of the two. This particular catowl was draped beneath a blanket of white which made the piercing blue eyes seem all the more pure. The resembled lakes of clear water within a landscape of pure snow.

The dragon performed a brief nod towards the creature before parting his jaws and speaking to it. “Tuwven, I must speak with your lady.” His tone was deep and genuine. It was but a deep rumble; the product of both fatigue and age.

The catowl spread his wings for a moment while changing his footing upon his perch; one of many connected to the walls for his convenience. “Aha.” he responded in a light voice. “Have you come to exchange your favor with her?” he wished to know.

Once again the dragon nodded. “I brought the Final One.” he replied.

Tuwven cast his bright blue eyes about to examine the entirety that the dragon before him was. His gaze stopped when he spotted the glowing object within the dragon’s talon. For a moment he sat still; his tail swaying from side to side. “You think…” he began while selecting his words carefully. Before he proceeded he raised his gaze once again to meet the unblinking silver eyes, “You are convinced that this is the Final One?” he informed.

With a tender gesture, the golden dragon placed the object upon the stone floor. “If not this one then who?” he answered with a sad tone.

“Very well.” Tuwven replied. He flicked his wings to carry himself into the air before floating effortlessly towards an opening within the wall beyond which lay darkness. Soon after this, the sound of flapping wings died out. What remained was the sound of the wind that blew by the tower.

The dragon waited with more impatience than he wished to hold. His talons remained around the glowing red object while it lay upon the floor. Through the connection with the surface of the object, the dragon felt the pulsing sensation of its glow. It resembled the beat of a heart. It throbbed with a gentle intensity. In unison with the evidence of this object’s life force, the golden creature sensed his own heart beating. With every beat that passed, he felt it weakening. While he had accepted his fate, he dared not depart this dimension without ensuring the safety of what little he could save; the last egg.

Several minutes passed before the door near the dark hole within the wall opened. It moved slowly and its hinges creaked as it did. The evening beams that flooded into the open space from beyond the tower engulfed the two figures the door now revealed.

One of the two was the white catowl who regained his perch rather quickly and sat there without a verbal word.

The second person was a woman. Dark eyes of wisdom and kindness were framed by a pale face that lay locked between dark curls of intertwined grey and black hues. She seemed slim beneath her cloak of splendid colors. Her entire body was decorated in small gemstones. A string of bright beads decorated her neck while rings of splendid colors lay around her wrists. Even her hair held small embellishments of varying colors. A small smile decorated her lips as she looked upon her guest. “Indyör.” she greeted him while performing a nod of acknowledgement.

“Minte.” replied the golden dragon while performing a nod of equal meaning.

The woman took several steps closer to the enormous beast before her. It was close enough for her to reach out and touch him. However she refrained from performing any such acts. Instead she merely held his gaze. “The fact that you have come means that the stars will be enriched soon.” she spoke in a deep yet warm voice.

“Correct.” the dragon responded. “My heart is giving out steadily. My heartstone shattered. Likewise did those of many of our kind.” he explained in a grave tone. He obtained a moment of silence before pushing the red object forward towards the robed woman of marvelous colors.

The woman raised her brows for a moment before kneeling down by the object to look upon it. After she had examined it briefly, she placed her hand upon it to feel the warmth of it and its tender glow. “An egg.” she acknowledged while casting her gaze upwards again.

The dragon nodded to her. “She is the only one left. Her egg was not found and destroyed and she does not have heartstones yet. Thus she could not be harmed that way. What is left of my heartstones is steadily withering away. I am not the only one. Every dragon lost their life. Before midnight…” His last words never came. He dared not speak them when he witnessed the change expression of the woman before him.

Tears had welled upon in her eyes as he spoke. From her cloak, she retrieved a silver object that fit perfectly in her two palms. It felt cold and fragile in her hands. “Oh, Indyör…” she whispered as she stared upon the object in her hands.

With cautious movements, the dragon sank through his legs to lay upon the hard floor beneath him to look upon the woman before him more intensely. “Please, Minte.” he murmured before he nudged the red egg with his nose. “Take care of her. Please take care of Caeirys.” his tone had become but a dim whisper.

Silently the woman started to weep. No sound occurred yet the tears were evident upon her cheeks. They shone in the evening light from the setting sun. With a quick yet tender motion, she placed the silver object by her side and reached out to the head of the golden dragon. She wrapped her arms around it as best as her small form would allow while laying her head and torso against him. The tears dripped from her cheeks onto his impeccable scales. They glided down before reaching the stone below.

Indyör partially closed his eyes as he watched her cry while he still heard the dimming bat of his heart. “Please…” he pleaded one las time while attempting not to allow his voice to tremble. He did not want her to know how faint his heart had become.

The woman separated herself from him and nodded to him. She whipped her tears with her sleeve to allow herself more clear sight. “Yes.” she spoke in a shuttering voice. “I promise.” she added to give him more assurance.

For a few seconds, Indyör did nothing but hum pleasantly. While he did, his eyes fell shut.

“Indyör.” the woman’s voice spoke. It pulled him from his overwhelming thoughts and exhaustion. He opened his eyes and looked upon her. She had grabbed the red egg and held it within her arms; clenched against her very body to keep it safe.

With tired movements, Indyör raised himself back onto his feet. He looked upon the small woman for what would be the last time. He dared not blink; afraid that he would not have any more seconds after he did. He wished to savor the moment. “Farewell, angel.” he whispered in a soft whisper as his eyes became sad yet peaceful. It was clear to him that this was the final words he’d ever say. He reached his head forward and touched the woman upon her forehead with his snout.

“Go.” she whispered in response while she still kept her eyes on him and her arms tightly around the egg.

Indyör backed away; returning the way he came. Before he reached the edge from where he would depart, he turned. He spread his wings; opening them far and wide. Before departing, he looked back one last time to the woman who stood behind him; watching him with large, sad eyes. He granted her one final nod before he made his final leap and committed himself to the last few flaps he would ever perform. As he jumped from the tower, the golden sunlight engulfed him and he made haste to disappear from the sight of the tower.

She watched him flap once, twice, three times. After this he vanished beyond her view. Feeling the desire to follow him, she rushed forward to the edge of the ledge from where Indyör had leaped. Her eyes darted about throughout the sky to try to catch one final glimpse of him. Before she managed to spot him however, a sound caressed her ear drums. A loud crack occurred; as if a glass object had shattered into pieces. The sound caused Minte’s heart to skip several beats. She turned around slowly; hesitant as if reluctant to find what truth would await her there.

Her eyes fell upon where the silver orb had lain. What remained of it now were but shards. Witnessing this caused renewed tears to paint dark trails upon her cheeks. She knew then. Indyör, the only one she ever loved, was dead.

Ego Depletion

I can’t precisely recall when it first came to my attention; the subject of willpower. Science is always looking for answers and one answer it was seeking was the one to the question, “Is willpower limitless?” This question entails if people can persevere on willpower alone for unlimited amounts of time. It implies that willpower is infinite.

Yet various studies suggested that this is not the case. The first was carried out by Roy Baumeister who asked his subjects to eat either radishes or delicious, tempting cookies and then to complete a puzzle. After his experiments, many more followed. From the studies conducted, the scientists concluded that willpower is not limitless.

The drainage of willpower (dubbed ‘ego depletion’ by some) means that you will steadily grow fatigued if you have to use willpower to either resist things or push yourself to do things you do not like. I have personally noticed physical tiredness after a long day of activities that I did not fancy. It drained my willpower to remain dedicated to them and made me tired. There was no energy retrieved from this.

Staying motivated

Then what are we to do? We live in a society where human beings are pushed to follow certain obligations and hold certain responsibilities. These activities can be tedious and we may only commit to them if we push ourselves through willpower. Although willpower can be very powerful at the start, it can easily lose its ground.

It’s common for students to start out a schoolyear with a lot of motivation but as the schoolyear drags on, they lose a lot of this initial motivation. This is likely due to ego depletion. They are losing the willpower to study or do their homework and simply end up dragging themselves along and tiring themselves out.

broken_heart-svgAnother example comes from my personal life. Several years ago, I was in an honest and committed relationship with someone I held quite dear. There was not a shard of doubt in my mind that he felt the same about me as well. He would mention it to me now and then or he would make it obvious through other means.

At one point, I wanted to become a bit more serious with him and take certain steps towards that end. He seemed however reluctant for certain reasons. So it ended up being only me who kept trying and compromising. No matter how much one loves another, even here willpower to commit can run out. Therefore, persons that tell you they will be with you through sheer persistence might want to rethink their love declaration…

You could also think of a tedious project at a job or a paper that is due for a certain class. Towards the end, the person involved might become more tired and annoyed by the subject matter because they have run out of willpower and have hit a wall.

Retrieving ego

I know it all comes off a bit depressing now after all the sad stories, but I assure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Below I will mention a few tips on how you can restore ego and remain balanced.

  • Routine – While willpower can be depleted, routine is something that is hard to change once adopted. It takes only a month to incorporate a routine. If you want to walk a certain distance every day or exercise, you will need discipline to start out these changes. This discipline will drag you through the first month. Once this month passes, it will become easier to perform the tasks you want to complete.
  • Obtain balance – In order to cope with the activities you enjoy less, you need to perform actions that will grant you energy. Various professionals have stated that partaking in enjoyable activities has many positive effects. I’ll also tell you, as a former social work student that people dedicated to make you feel happy (social workers and psychologists) will always ask about what activities give you energy and will then suggest you do them more frequently. This subject too can be incorporated into a routine if you do not wish to overdo it. You can limit yourself by setting a certain timeframe.
  • Rewards – Consider rewarding yourself for jobs that you did well. For example, when I study, I tell myself to read a certain section and summarize it. If I complete this, I am allowed to eat a cookie/snack and drink something I enjoy (like chocolate milk).
  • Take time off – No one can continue running forever. Every human being needs a break now and then. Consider taking a day off in between your busy schedule to simple cater to your own needs and desires. On this day, you shouldn’t fret about life or its components. On this day, all you need to worry about is feeling comfortable where you are and with what you’re doing. This will greatly help replenish your ego.

In conclusion, you must try to find what resonates with you best. Some methods might be more effective for one person than for another. I am not very keen on routine so that is not something I’d consider.

Something I found helpful was getting other people involved. This is something I’ve done for a writing project. It’s a long story and though I like to write, it’s easy to get lost in the length of the project itself and the tediousness of rewriting (the less fun and less easy part). When I tell other people about what I am doing and get them interested, it motivates me more to actually write the story so I can present it to the curious eyes that are waiting.

What methods do you use to stay motivated?

Introverts

Are introverts antisocial? Are they shy? Do they dislike people? Are they quiet? These are often assumptions that people make about introverts. I am one and I am not any of those things. I’d like to take this chance to explain what introverts are actually like; both from my own experiences and pieces I found on external websites.

Extroverts, as we often see them, are people that go out and party. Then the introverts are always depicted as bookworms and/or loners. This is how movies make it look. They also often take a party boy and make him fall madly in love with an introvert; making some unlikely love possible. Charming… Honestly, the way movies make the two ‘types’ seem bothers me for two reasons. 1. A love based on opposites is less likely to succeed and 2. Introverts, if not both types, often get misrepresented.

Companionship

Every human being feels the need to belong. No human being is likely to choose for absolute solitude. Every human being likes companionship to some extent. Some of us (extroverts) like the company of big groups. The presence of a lot of people gives them happiness.

On the other hand, introverts too enjoy company. But introverts are more common to establish a few deep bonds with people rather than surrounding themselves with a large group of people. They also don’t need company as much as extroverts.

So introverts aren’t antisocial. If anything, they could have social anxiety. This is common for introverts. This does not mean they don’t want to be around people, it just means they have difficulty doing it.

Because introverts struggle a bit more with the pressures of large groups of people, many of them prefer the company of animals; especially cats. Dogs require them to go out and be around other people. Cats allow them to stay in their ‘safe spaces’ and just do their thing. I mentioned this before in my Cat Lady post.

Analyzing

Take a leap of faith? Just do it ‘just because’? Do things you never did before without really thinking about it? Ideas like these are called impulsiveness and are often associated with extroverts. Extroverts are usually considered to be bigger risk-takers and more adventurous.

While the extroverts are having a ball just doing whatever they feel like doing, the introverts sit and think about it. They analyze and strategize. What will be the consequences of doing this? How can I best achieve this? Introverts are planners.

Peer pressure, where a group will attempt to egg on an individual into doing something, could be problematic for an introvert. The group will say it is nice to do the particular thing but that might not be true for the introvert. That isn’t the introvert’s fault, either! It is about brain processes. Risky or impulsive acts give extroverts more satisfaction through the release of dopamine. The same activity will not have the same chemical outcome for the introvert.

Isn’t science fascinating, guys?

Utilizing strengths

Here’s a fun fact for you; introverts are commonly better at public speaking than extroverts. Why is this, you might ask? It is a combination of earlier named traits. Sure, extroverts might enjoy the company of the group, but there isn’t necessarily interaction. Introverts, although perhaps anxious, are better planners. Therefore, they will function better in such situations.

I’d like to take myself as an example. I am an introvert. I don’t build deep bonds with many people. There are just a few I let in. But at the same time, I enjoy doing presentations. Things like presentations also allow me to utilize all my creativity. Because introverts tend to think more and use their time on reading or other individual activities, they often come up with creative and new ideas. Many of my introverted friends are avid writers, painters or artists in some other way. I’d like to think I am too. The few compliments now and then that I get are pleasing.

Another reason why introverts might be creative minds could be to allow for an escape from expectations. Many situations nowadays call for close interaction with other people. School projects or work are often executed in teams nowadays. Teamwork is important but it can be difficult to achieve for people who like the comfort of their own company. To avoid the stress that these activities are causing, the introvert will try to express themselves.

I’m not sure if other introverts experience that. It works like that for me, anyways. The more stressed or upset I get with situations, the more creative I become. Counter-intuitive maybe, but true nonetheless.

Ambivert

Now, I’ve never been one to think of the world in a black-and-white pattern. So here I will present to you the ambivert; which is someone who takes traits from both the extrovert and the introvert. Do you have a lot of friends but still like to take a moment to yourself rather than go out to party? Do you analyze an adventure but still get a rush from it? Do you function well in a group as well as individually? You might be what is called an ambivert.

Of course, I’d like to remind everyone that in-between every extreme, there are grey areas. You could still be an extrovert but keep only a few close friends or be an introvert but like to go out.

Personally

I am not shy, I am not quiet. I am someone who will speak up in class when the teacher asks a question, given that the lesson I am attending is with my own class. I know them. They are familiar. Only then do I have the courage to speak up.

I can work in a group but I prefer to work on my own. I like to do presentations. I like to read school books and fiction. I have several friends whose company I enjoy. It just never has to be overly much or I will start to feel tired. I need my own time to write blogposts, stories, music and do all the things that I need to do to regenerate mentally and emotionally.

I like a party now and then and I will fully be present if I am around people I am familiar with. Otherwise I will enjoy it in the company of the people I actually do know. I am not unfriendly but I will have reservations with people I am not close to. Perhaps something like that makes me as black-and-white as the concept of ‘types’.

What do you think about introverts, extroverts and ambiverts?