New Year, New Ways

So it’s been a little over two years since I last wrote. Since then I’ve gotten a BA in English and moved from Sweden to England. The only thing familiar about the place I’m now writing, as compared to the place I used to write my blog, is my trusty old laptop Collin. He’s a massive HP “Dragon” from 2008, and he’s now lived with me in 3 countries, and throughout the life-time of this blog. He’s seen me write about random things, attempt to find some sort of topic, and eventually quit writing for two years. He’s used to me changing things around by now. He doesn’t care. He’s got his quirks, and I’ve got mine. He doesn’t care about the new things in my life, as long as he gets to develop wholly new and interesting issues that I have to work my way around if I want to use him. What do I want? He’s getting on a bit, after all.

The newest thing in my life is Twitter. My husband has been quite a bit more active on Twitter for quite a bit longer than me, but I have this tendency to obsess about something when I’ve just found out about it, only to completely neglect it and forget about it a few months later. (This does not apply to my husband, or salt-liquorice). The problem with Twitter, and the wonderful thing about it, is how very little you get to say in response to people. I find myself constantly itching to say enough, to say what I really want to say, to explain, but there is just no way, and I’m not going to write 6 tweets in succession, I’m just not!  So instead I thought; let’s breathe some life into the old blog, and then I can just link people to what I want to say.

Another thing my husband has introduced me to is speaking my mind when I disagree with people. I used to be that one person in the room who’d just stay silent and hope no-one looked my way if I didn’t completely agree with what was being said. I hate confrontation. I have stressful dreams where people refuse to talk to me because we have fallen out. I have stressful waking moments when people refuse to talk to me because we have fallen out. When two people I love are fighting I want to throw myself on top of pointy things. But my husband can also tell just how much it’s killing me to hold those opinions and thoughts in. And over time, this has cultivated a tiny warrior in me, about as scary as a chihuahua with a limp, but just as ferocious. She comes out when people are sexist. When people are racist. When people are trying to be religious at me. When people explain how this pseudo-scientific cr*p they believe in actually works. When people are being hypocritical, and using religion, feminism, or anti-racism as an excuse for being sexist and racist themselves. She barks and hops about on her three legs until I just have to say something, in the politest way possible, but still something.

So thanks to my husband, and Twitter, I now finally have a topic (or three). Collin, sorry if I don’t stick to these in the future. Not that you care.



To me, feminism is a very exciting minefield. I get outraged by chauvinist a**holes, that according to me create exactly the kind of radical, regressive feminism there is so much of on social media forums nowadays. And in turn, these radical, regressive feminists create more chauvinist a**holes. Somewhere in the middle we have people like David Rubin and Christina Hoff Sommers, who just want everybody to be treated equally, and to have a good time while we’re at it. Problem is, when you hold that middle-ground, you end up being fired at from both sides. So I’ll be fired at from both sides. I’m an equity feminist: it means I believe that all people, men, women, transgender, anything else that I can’t think of, should be treated equally. It means I think we’re all different, and we should celebrate those differences rather than try to erase them. It means that I think radical, regressive feminists are feminism’s own worst enemy. It means that I will write about what I do, and what I think, in the struggle for equality.



It was only a few years ago that I gave up that last shred of superstition, the Chinese Horoscope, and became what I generally label as “atheist.” Thanks to a well-put question from my (then-to-be)husband: “Why do you believe in the Eastern Horoscope, when you think the Western Horoscope is ridiculous?”, and later watching Derren Brown’s “Trick of the Mind” in which he demonstrates how generalised horoscopes really are, I finally let that go. (If you still believe in horoscopes or tarot-cards or things like that, here’s the first half of that demonstration: I still tell myself off when I catch myself going “So what would that make them, a Tiger…” but I am getting better at catching myself out whenever I’m about to submit to a superstitious belief again. I think religion is never a good thing. Ever. I think anything that can cause people to kill other people, or specifically, parents to let their own children die because they believe in “the power of prayer” is an awful, destructive thing. Which leads me to my third topic.



I grew up with parents who subscribe to various pseudo-scientific, alternative, “medical” theories. I’ve been subjected to acupuncture, kinesiology, homeopathy, chiropractors, something weird to do with brain-scans and past lives, I was never vaccinated against anything, I’ve had to eat müsli with tea made from bark, take 10 pills a day, have a gluten-free diet… The list goes on and on. I think what still weirds me out the most is how my parents took me to a homeopathic clinic when I had double-sided pneumonia at 9, and then took me back home and put wraps full of yoghurt on my chest for a month. Instead of antibiotics, which would actually have done something. I remember watching the very thin, frail version of myself in the mirror, and being afraid I would die. I don’t understand why anyone would make the 9-year-old daughter suffer through a month of coughing and fevers and fear when there are alternatives. But to people who believe in pseudoscience, they were doing the right thing. Conventional medicine is evil. Well, here are two – of the many – things I’d like to say to you: it wouldn’t be called “alternative” medicine if it worked, it would be called medicine. Also, read Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science.” Before you say how he’s being paid off by the evil, mythological “Big Pharma”, he has also written “Bad Pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients,” so brrrrlllffft.

Radical, regressive feminism, religion, and pseudoscience are things I’m constantly bombarded with on my Facebook feed. I’m also confronted with a lot of narrow-mindedness in the opposite direction, at work, or at various social gatherings. But I want to finally talk about it, and talk about the issues I see, and what happens when I dare to confront them. Join me for the ride in my next blog-post.


New Is Always Better

I know that I always say “this occurred to me the other day” or “something that has been bothering me for a while” and stuff like that. Well. This one just kind of slid in there. It hasn’t really bothered me, and it didn’t come to me in a flash of lightning with halos or Bach music. It gently settled in my brain and would not let go until I wrote it out. The reason this one itches in my brain is because I am wondering if it is true, or if I am merely tagging on to the “it was different back then” band-wagon of the people who think that “things are only getting worse all the TIME and the universe is going to implode REALLY REALLY SOON!”  I don’t know, because usually, my ball is never in that court. (Or rather, if I owned a ball, it wouldn’t be). I tend to think that little has changed about mankind over the last thousand or so years, and little will change. It does make sense, however, that with technological change and “improvement”, something will change in the way humans think and feel, and the greatest change I have perceived is this: new is always better. 

If you are awesome, like me, you will recognise this quote from How I Met Your Mother‘s Barney. Though he does little to give the argument credibility, we do our best to preserve its validity. There was a time when the older something was the more valuable. When the fact that you had had a bag for 10 years meant it was good quality and you should be proud, but it now means that you are stingy/un-hip/”poor you! you can’t afford a new bag!” Huh. Wait. Why is new always better?

I believe that I mentioned a similar issue in a blogpost not too long ago. Since it is so easy to find those “other fish in the sea”, people are not so wary about breaking up any more. There must be a switch somewhere in the back of our heads going “So this person you’re with… you love them very much, they’re alright, no real problems… but we’re just not as excited any more! The sex isn’t as great, we don’t talk as often, or as much, we’ve just lost it. Hey, who’s that hottie?” (I will concur that “hottie” is probably not a word that people use during an internal monologue, but you get my point). So we keep going, from new partner to new partner, because new is always better. It is exciting, it is different, we can go through all those tingly first feelings again, and think that this time, we are actually really in love… until it happens all over again.

So as we sit there, longing for the newest tv-series, the new iPhone, that organic cotton-rug from Madagascar, the solar-powered spaghetti-machine from Japan… As we worry about being able to afford a whole new wardrobe for the summer so people won’t see us wearing the same stuff, and what our next shade of dark-brown hair-dye is going to look like compared to the one we’ve got (I’m sorry, no-one will notice. Trust me. I’ve been there), and if the guy across the street has more abs than the guy next door so maybe we should focus our flirtations on him instead… do we question our reasoning? What is the logic behind this “new is always better” stuff?

My theory is that we are constantly stuck in an “upgrade in progress” loop, where we believe that we are improving ourselves and our lives through this new stuff. We are so busy admiring that thing we don’t have yet that we fail to notice all the things we DO have that we used to feel that way about. We get something new, and a week or two later, we rage about how inadequate it is, and start looking for what we should have gotten instead, and will certainly save up for. We notice all the ways that the thing we wanted didn’t meet our expectations, and firmly believe that there is something shiny out there that will, we just have to keep looking.

Aha. That must be why we are still looking. Because there obviously is, you just haven’t found it yet.

If you get tired at some point though, maybe you can re-evaluate what you are ACTUALLY looking for, as you huff and puff, flat out on the floor. My bet is that a) you already have it, b) your expectations are set too high, so stop watching all those Disney-movies and start looking at what life is actually like, or c) OK, so maybe this thing or person is out there, and they are real, and they are flawless and you’ll never ever get tired of them or bored because life will be all rosy and perfect if you find them… If you feel that way, by all means, keep looking. You may be right. In the meantime, I shall sit here with my broken, worn down things, and be extremely happy over having them. Partially because I see all these people around me being so frustrated with their new, shiny things that aren’t what they expected. And partially because I know I won’t find peace over the next hill, if I can’t find it right where I’m sitting. There is only one thing that getting something new will give you, and that is a guarantee: something new.

Turn-about is… fair play?

For thousands upon thousands of years, humans have perfected the art of suppressing, using, abusing, manipulating, taking advantage of, milking, sucking the life out of, making fun of, stealing, reaping, raping, mocking, hunting… just about everything. Ore from the earth, wood from trees, life from other animals, and most certainly, ourselves. We have refined this art: now we can pollute with ease, extract with skill, lie with expertise and shake the hands of our enemies as we put them in prison for years to come. The strangest of all these urges is that to belittle others. We can see it today, and have seen it in famous historical examples; mainly slavery and the suppression of women.

Due to these centuries of taking other people hostage and agreeing that women are not good for anything but childbirth and, perhaps, cooking, a new group of people has arisen among the masses. A group which is hated, mocked and scorned by all, a group which is rapidly losing their honour, and, through merely being born into this group, you will automatically be on the top list of “evil human beings” for the rest of your life: wealthy white men.

“Gasp!” you say. “How can you speak of them as ill treated?” you say. “They are no better than criminals!” you say. “They deserve what is coming to them!” you say. “They are all selfish, competitive, raping, racist bastards!” you say. Aha. So by virtue of being a wealthy, white man, you immediately become all of these things. I see. That is by no means racist, by no means judging someone  by their income, or sex. Not at all. Because if you were born with the upper hand, you deserve what is coming to you.

When did this happen? I guess it has always been this way. In previous societies, certain things were openly strived for, openly admired, but in a modern world, thirsty for what is fair, quirky, different and therefore better than mainstream, the things that used to be good are now despicable. Virtue? We want sexual freedom for all. Money? We should get rid of it and all live in harmony, trading services. Power? Power only ever leads to corruption.

In a million ways, I agree. And yet. How is it fair that a comedian who is African-American, Jewish, Indian, Chinese or [insert ethnic group that is not classed as “white” here] can make the most racist jokes and remarks about any other group… because they are not “white”? How is it fair that female comedians can rant about the shortcomings of men for hours, and this brings the house down… but if a man makes a single joke about a woman, this is sexist? When did “turn the other cheek” and “do unto others” become “do as others have done previously because you can because revenge is justice, at least if taken by what has been a weaker party”? (I love Russel Peters, by the way. He’s hilarious. My point is, if he gets to make racist jokes, so should everyone else).

I am not saying there have not been some terrible acts of injustice throughout history, or that there are none today. I am not saying that wealthy, powerful white men do not have an awful lot coming to them… as long as the person in question is a chauvinistic, selfish, racist arse. But I am fighting for that other guy. The father who is deemed worthless because he didn’t “have to carry the baby for nine months”. The young man who is a “slob who lives in his parents basements and just plays video-games all the time”. The boy in the hoodie on the street who is “bad seed”. The husband who is inconsiderate because he doesn’t “take me out” or “talk for hours like we used to” or “bring me flowers anymore”. ANY man who isn’t “good enough in bed”.

Shame on us. Shame on the sex that asks for all the benefits, but none of the responsibility. That father might well have wished to be able to carry that child for nine months, but was not able to, due to his physiology. A woman can go to a sperm-bank and become a single mother, but a man could never get this chance, because he is unable to carry a child. That young man may be no worse than a young woman living with her parents, but because she spends her time writing a blog, scrap-booking, painting her toe-nails and talking to her friends on the phone, she is somehow better, a good girl, a virtuous, productive young woman who is simply taking her time to make her choices in life. And the hoodie. All the hoodie is is a light jacket with a piece of cloth attached to the top. Wow. Are we really going to pass someone off as a dangerous criminal, a junkie, a nobody because they choose to wear this garment? That husband, why is it always his job to bring flowers, book a table, start a conversation? What husband complains about his wife “neglecting the romance” in their marriage? But above and beyond all; when did it become the man’s job to make sure that a) you have the best sex of your life every time you do anything at all and b) he has the best sex of his life, because you shouldn’t have to lift a finger to please him?

Why do we stand there, jeering at these “worthless, selfish, sloppy, slow, overrated MEN”, expecting them to do everything for us, and yet claiming to be self-sufficient and strong? They have to start doing dishes and cooking, but we don’t have to put up a shelf or mow the lawn. They should be home more with the children, so that we can pursue our career… if we want to. Preferably, they should bring in the money AND take care of the children, so we can go off and take art-courses and long vacations, because being mothers and wives and poorly treated women entitles us to do nothing and get pampered.

Yes, things that have been done to, and are still being done to, women are absolutely AWFUL. Suppression in physical, mental and emotional ways is an everyday occurrence in many countries. But why should a generation of men who are learning much from their mothers, from a time when liberation of women and equality is on a constant rise, have to suffer the most for the actions of their fathers and grandfathers? Should the Germans of today be punished for Hitler’s actions? Should all the white Americans be shipped out of the U.S, because their forefathers took the land of Native Americans, and it is rightfully theirs, so piss off? And if we should all have to bear the consequences of our forefathers actions, and take the punishment for their mistakes and cruelty, how far back do we go? Homo sapiens were responsible for the genocide of the Neanderthal. Should we all be killed for that?

Inequality is shit. Suppression is horrible, slavery is inexcusable and chauvinism is just plain stupid. These things have existed, and do exist. It is something we should always strive to get away from, something we should always fight to stop. But fighting fire with fire has never been effective. Attacking men for their fathers’ actions is not going to make those actions go away, it is simply creating a new group of suppressed people. If we want equality, we are going to have to start treating everyone as an equal. EVERYONE. Even the pariah of today, the wealthy, white man.

Monsatan… Monsanta… Monsanto

I’m sure none of us have done ANYTHING on our computers the last few months without reading the word “Monsanto” amongst things like “super-duper-evil”, “worse than Hitler”, “OMG! I can’t believe how terrible these people are!”, “Boycott them or die!” and so forth. Yes. I can no longer log onto facebook without the majority of my friends having posted something about how this terribly nasty, BIG corporation (you know how them being big and making money means they are evil, right?) is taking over the world one grain at a time. If you have managed to miss this, good for you.

Because this Monsanto-fever is giving rise to something else, something which has killed an awful lot of people over thousands of years. Wherever it has reared its ugly head, people drop like flies. This little something, I like to call: self-righteousness.

Yes indeed. That thing that makes a person walk up to someone and tell them how despicable they are because they haven’t made the same life-choices. How selfish they are for drinking bottled water. What a terrible pregnant mother they are for eating a single Dorito. How can they live with themselves, these terrible people who don’t walk to work, or don’t grow their own organic veggies, or don’t breastfeed their children till they’re 3-years-old?

A deep, glowing belief that your way of life is the only right and the only GOOD way is what has led to a great many “events” in world history: The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, The Russian Revolution and the Holocaust, to name a few. It would not surprise me if the mind-numbing sharing and reposting of things like this, this and this soon turn into “demonstration” in the form of throwing stones, bombs, graffiti etc. Perhaps some nice anti-GMO person will start shooting Monsanto hot-shots, because for some reason they think this will make the world a better place.

But hang on. The same people who are so against what Monsanto are doing today, aren’t those the ones who wanted to… what was it again… oh yes, end world hunger. Because that is the main reason for GMO in the first place! Creating enough resilient, hefty crops, that give farmers in third-world countries food and an income? Or, all these self-righteous, angry, first-world people can go the f*** down to Africa and India and into China and start helping the farmers for free, swatting bugs to avoid pesticides, farming acre upon acre of land without heavy machinery… no, but it is so much easier to just shout at some common scape-goat than to actually do something to fix the situation.

This is what Monsanto’s home-page looks like:


(The morning of the 13th of June, it took me forever to get to their homepage. It would not load. Is it possible that some well-meaning anti-GMO activist feels that Monsanto are so big and evil they do not deserve a website, or to tell their side of the story?)

This is what one of the thousands of “Monsanto is the evil of the world and the spawn of Satan” web-pages looks like:


(Interestingly enough, the BBC are now “biased” because they made a “pro-GMO” documentary. Up until now, the BBC have been professional, the best in the biz, world-famous for their unbiased reporting.  But if they do not agree with such a large group of people, who are well-informed of who Monsanto really are, thanks to reposting stuff on facebook, they must now have turned to the dark side. I don’t blame them. We have cookies.)

And this is what good ol’ neutral Wikipedia has to say on the matter:


One great problem is that people continue to share these things, huffing, puffing, gasping and frowning at the audacity of this company’s actions, without actually trying to find anything out for themselves. If they do, they go to “reliable” websites, with words like “green“, “organic“, “natural” etc. in the name. Because if it says Monsanto is evil, it must be true.

I am not saying anything either way. I know that by now, I would have to read for a week straight to get any unbiased information about this company. I know that even if I did, I could not convince its supporters that it is evil, nor its opponents that it is good. Because people see what they want to see, no matter what is actually there. But I still believe that self-righteousness is a much greater killer than any evil corporation ever has been. So far.

Ask why

An acquaintance of mine and her boyfriend recently broke up. I asked her why and she answered “That’s just how it is sometimes, I guess”.

This led me back to a train of thought that I’ve been stuck on of late. The relationship today, and why it has turned into what it is. The shrug and the “other fish in the sea” attitude which people often have around break-ups nowadays. The disinterest in finding out why it fell apart. The ease with which we can shut people out, because we don’t all live in the same tiny village and have to see each other every day.

Is it that simple? Because we are so many, living in massive heaps of human upon human, we can abandon our partner, a person we have shared every intimate ounce of our lives with for years, and go find someone else to do it all over with? Really?

And why would you not question, why would you say “I guess that’s just the way it is sometimes” and shrug and give up? If you have been with that person for several years, there must be a reason beyond “it was convenient” or “we had sex and then we kept dating”? No?

The hopeful romantic in me wants to shout and ask people to fight, to stop and ask themselves what they saw in that person when they first met them, whether that was a construct of wishful thinking or a real quality, and if so, is it still there? Why is that not so important anymore? Why does taking something for granted immediately make it a negative, in a sense, something which is forgotten and discarded behind all the habits that all of a sudden become so annoying and impossible to live with?

It’s as if people don’t need to think anymore because we can just run away; defriend, delete pictures, block phone-number, change lock and ask your friends if he’s going to be there before you go to the party. Oh, it’s not an easy process in the slightest, but it’s probably a hell of a lot more comfortable than having to face that person and have some form of conversation with them about the reasons it didn’t work out, and the reasons why it should have.

The hopeful romantic in me cannot believe that all the things you loved in a person have certainly magically disappeared. The hopeful romantic in me knows that if it was worth getting into in the first place, it’s worth fighting for. The hopeful romantic in me knows that unless you hate the person for some reason, or it turns out your values differ greatly in the fields of politics, religion, upbringing of children, drug-use or something equally serious, there will probably be a way to find common ground, compromise, forgive and live with each other again.

But no. No say the people of today. We are many, we are young, we have a friend-list of 1000 people to pick from, because hey, we can be bi if we want to. We have longer life-expentancy, so more time to screw up and keep screwing up.

Fine. You do that. I am going to keep loving the man I am with madly, for all the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place, and never let myself forget. Because when you have found something and someone worth fighting for, you do not let go. Under any circumstances. You do not shrug and turn away. You ask why.

One Wedding and No Funeral

Yes. It has been almost a year. I know. I’m shocked to see that there are occasionally people still checking in here, almost every day! I do not have a long, elaborate explanation as for why I haven’t written. Life happened.


Last time I wrote, my oldest brother and his fiance had just had a little boy. He is now about 8 months old, and a proper person, but a lot smaller than most of us. It’s my job to talk English to him, so he grows up knowing several languages. I have no problem with that. Well, not just my job, mine and my fiance’s.


Oh yeah. Remember that amazing person I mentioned frequently back when I was still blogging, last year? We’re engaged to be married this summer. It’s rare, not only in it being my first, last and only marriage to anyone, but also in it being a full-blown WordPress wedding. Oh yeah. Do you remember how he was a blogger and we met through WordPress? Well, he’s still a blogger, he’s been a lot more active than me over the last year, and right now he’s working on some exciting updates to his page. It just so happens that his 2 year bloggoversary falls on the 17th this month, so give him a wordpressent by visiting him a lot! It will be fun, because the changes are happening gradually.


What else? Last time I wrote, I was still finishing up courses to get into university. Well, I did a summer course on “Visual and Material Objects”. Does it sound complicated, pretentious, weird? It probably was all of those things, but I enjoyed it immensely. My – occasionally – overly analytical brain thoroughly enjoyed picking apart and decoding images and various forms of art. I feel like I have had good use for it in my current field of study; English. I did English all of last fall, and now all of this spring, and then I will spend all of this summer planning our wedding.


So the one wedding should be fairly obvious by now. Best get to the second part before you claw my eyes out.


A wonderful, beautiful person in this world has died. Sierra, a girl that I have known since I was 16, and whose blog I actually linked to once or twice, chose not to live any longer, and I have to deal with that over Christmas. I was not angry with her – though I have the feeling that her relatives were, because they did not have a funeral –  I was just sad that she was so sad that she could not carry on anymore. Sierra had a wonderful sense of humour, was very caring, hated conflict, drank like a champion, rocked short hair, gave the best of hugs, doted on Audrey Hepburn and could not stop smoking. I love her to bits and pieces. I still feel tears welling up when I think of her “too closely”, but at the same time I am grateful for having known her, and happy for her that she doesn’t have to be as unhappy as she was anymore. Ironically, her last blogpost is titled “the queen is dead”, and the last thing she wrote in a book we sent back and forth, like a letter, was “BUMMER!”

I can’t bring myself to leave you on such a sad note. Think about all the wondrous and joyous things I will share with you this summer! I am sure to blog about the wedding and the wedding-plans, because apparently everyone does that, and I have noticed that women become absolutely obsessed with that date as it draws nigh, so I’m sure I won’t be an exception. Also, with the permission of my brother and his lovely lady, I will post a picture of the most adorable – to me, and yet – baby ever born!

One thing my English course has taught me – so far – is – besides quite a few things that I know happen to be incorrect, because my fiance is not only English, but good AT English, and most Englishmen would cry if they knew what they teach us at this university – how to write a very boring, overly complex, fancy, abstract, and to most good writers, unacceptable, text, which needs a conclusion that repeats everything you have just told people. To that end (clears throat): In short, I have studied a lot, I have a wonderful little nephew, my friend is dead and I will get married this summer to the most wonderful person I have ever met and then get to spend the rest of my life with him.


Write you soon.

How happy some o’er other some can be

Upon my return from the longest blackout yet in the history of this blog, I feel no remorse. My life has been busy and a blur of school, spending time with my boyfriend and friends and trying to sleep somewhere in-between the two. I do not have enough readers that there’s a riot or a global crisis when I take a break from writing, but mayhap enough that there’s a tiny spark of joy on seeing that I’ve finally posted something again.

This post shall be about happiness. Ever since I first read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence I’ve never quite been able to get over the wording “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The pursuit of happiness. See, every human has the right to try to make themselves happy. This should give people a clue. It’s not like we’re born little bundles of joy. Sure, babies smile a lot, but they also cry at the top of their lungs a lot of the time. And sometimes there’s no telling why. Are we maybe born depressed and live our lives in the pursuit of happiness?

Maybe you wonder what triggered these strange thoughts. Well. I go to school in my decently sized but scarcely populated country’s capital city, and the other day I was making my way back from the school-grounds to the subway. I was dressed in a very plain black coat, black pants, black boots, colourful scarf. My hair a complete mess as always, but that specific day, a fashionable mess. A latte in one hand, a cigarette in the other, I cruised with my shoulder bag through the crowds. I felt at one with the city. I stopped dead in my tracks next to the subway entrance. There in my head stood the strangest question ever, bent over laughing at me in a very annoying manner: right this moment, you are the person you’ve wanted to be since you were quite the young lass. You look like you could be anyone in a crowd of thousands of other Stockholm girls like you, with slight variations. You flow through the crowds and move with the beating of this city’s rather unrythmic heart. You are she, the woman that you looked at years and years ago and somehow decided you wanted to become one day. But are you happy?

The answer was of course yes and no. Though there are times in our lives when we are absolutely over the moon, and others where we are way low, for the most part we’re pretty content, and if someone asks we can give people a list of the things that are good in our lives right next to the things that are bad. A lot of the time we put quite a big focus on the things that are not good, or not as we wish them to be rather. I bet you that if you start keeping track of how your friends respond to “how was your day?” or “what is happening in your life right now?” many of them will either start off, or quickly fall into, a long list of complaints regarding their health, co-workers, work-load, family, out-of-date cellphone, few too many pounds around the waist, too small kitchen, horrible weather… and it never ends. There will always be a million and thousand things that could be improved in our lives, and for some reason we’re really good at noticing them and then pointing them out to others. No end.

But then when you’re there, whining and bitching in your head about something really frustrating or annoying or how tired and stressed you are… you can just stop for a split second and ask yourself the classic question: What about if this is as good as it gets? Say that you, right now, are at the high point of your life. Then shouldn’t you be overjoyed over all the amazing things you have at the moment? How about the fact that you don’t have a blister on your heel, that the coffee wasn’t a dollar more expensive than it was, your mother didn’t call you a whore today, and yes, it’s raining, but it’s not hailing! For lots of people the reverse psychology of thinking about how much worse things could have been doesn’t work, but just consider, we really notice the bad things when they are present, wouldn’t it put us in a better mood if we noticed how un-present they were?

And if you’re depressed, if you find yourself constantly bitching and moaning and making the people around you cringe when you walk into a room because they know their mood is about to drop by about 30 degrees… so what? What is so wrong with not being happy all the time? It’s a bloody fact that we can’t maintain the same happiness for an extended amount of time – actual study showed that people, after having won a really big, like huge, sum from the lottery were right back at the same level of “happiness” a week after the win as they had been at before the win. This is true! -, and every single person, be they life-coach or millionaire or rock star or preschool-teacher, every single human on this earth has had, or is about to have, a bad day. But no, when there’s misery on the horizon, people run. When did sadness, anger and frustration turn into the Black Death of our time?

So kids, happiness cannot be maintained as a constant. Happiness is a bit of a rollercoaster and if you don’t like it that’s tough shit. P.S Doing E won’t help, I’m sorry. I don’t know this from personal experience but I have noticed from hours of observation that drugs wear off once you run out of them. Sorry. And if you’re feeling down, don’t be so afraid to show it. Please don’t go all emo and start cutting yourself and your bangs, because a) it looks bad on most people and b) the bathroom zink becomes a mess and you’re probably going to be too depressed to care about cleaning up yourself, so someone else will have to do it. But don’t go around trying to hide your sadness thinking people will run from you if you don’t. There is nothing wrong with not being the most energetic flying squirrel on a sugar-high around, 24/7/365,25. Because nobody is. It’s OK not to be OK.

O brave new world. That has such people in’t!

Good evening/morning/midday/midnight my dears! I have once again managed to be absent for an indecent period of time, and have come back with some new perspectives.

Exactly. Perspective. That’s what my brain has been mulling over in the very slow and painful process of thinking these past few days. So allow me to just as slowly and painfully take you through the reasons why, and what is has finally come up with. Oh, and don’t expect anything grand.

A few days ago my lovely boyfriend came for a very enjoyable visit; we went out to a great restaurant, set out on a midnight hunt for chocolate in dangerous territory, went dress-hunting but found only pizza and Zippo lighters and most glorious of all, talked. We discussed little things and big big things, and somewhere in there, I gained new perspective. The realisation that some things you just cannot understand until you have actually experienced them yourself! “Huh. Well that’s fairly obvious” you might say. But just stop to think for a second.

We are the centre of our universe. From within our heads, we observe, think, smell, sense, calculate, remember and react to everything that happens around us. From within our heads, we imagine what it feels like to be someone else, or to be in a different situation, one so very foreign to you that your brain has to conjure images from movies long ago seen, stories long ago read and cat pee long ago smelled. Yet there’s a funny part of our brain that tells us that we understand exactly what the other person is talking about. A part we’d like to think of as not only imaginative and creative but also very empathic.

Dead wrong. Assuming that you understand someone else perfectly is the exact opposite of empathy. Empathy is to attempt to relate to what someone else is feeling, knowing that their situation is unique and you can only try to imagine what it feels like. But for some curious reason, this part of our brain – let’s call it the “I’m awesome because I can relate perfectly to everyone” part. Or maybe imo for short. – tells us that we in fact know what they feel, know what they think and so in some strange sense are connected to them and can not only offer kind advice and solace, but give instructions, and tell them that they are wrong.

Well, let’s just for a second try to tell that part of our brains to go screw themselves. I know that right now you’ll have to stop yourself from thinking either “I know exactly what she’s talking about, I feel like this all the time!” or “Whoa, she’s gone batty, she must be this and this kind of a person to talk like this, I have her pegged” but whichever one it is, that’s the part of our brains that we somehow can’t seem to switch off in the interactions we have with other human beings. Just try though.

From this place where we are standing now, isn’t it somehow easier to understand others? Because when someone says something, instead of our brain instantly jumping to five thousand conclusions about how they feel, what they must be thinking and what would make them feel better/what they ought to do about it, we can just sit back, watch, listen and actually hear what they are saying, and not what we think about what they are saying. I know it gets eerily quiet in there when you do this, but it’s also kind of fun, and a relief.

Maybe people would sometimes just like to be heard, to be listened to, and not to always get a pat on the back or a “The sun will come up tomorrow!”/”There are other fish in the sea!”/”Get off your high horses!”/”You’re doing it wrong!” etc. Maybe if we take the little imo in our heads and bundle it up in a roll of duct-tape and tuck it away in a dark corner for a few hours each day, we could honestly see what is going on around us, and not just what we think and feel about it all the time.

Studies (can’t remember where I read this now, was some kind of medical or psychological journal) made with 3 and 4-year-olds has shown that it’s around that age when, if put in front of a model of say, a small mountain, it’s around that age that children develop their ability to see the mountain from someone else’s perspective, and not just the side that they see. So we obviously have that ability somewhere. Unless we grew up and lost it. But are we really the people with “different-coloured lenses on our glasses” (thank you Fynn and Mr. God, This Is Anna. Still one of the best books ever) or do we have it in us to take those lenses off from time to time, open our eyes and see things as they truly are?

For he that hath, to him shall be given

Congrats to my boyfriend for guessing the previous post’s quote (are we surprised? Not me!). As promised, the person who guessed correctly also got to pick my theme for this weeks post. I got a few options and eventually settled for the one that I was most unwilling to write about, because generally when you’re hesitant to write about something, it’s because you have a lot of questions/emotions regarding this thing, and so if you write about it, it will inevitably become very interesting.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

No, but seriously. Knowing me as well as he does, he said “Maybe you should write about the problem you have with people doing things for you, and them giving you things”. What does he mean, you may ask? Well. For the longest time, since my early teens, I cringe inside whenever someone does something nice for me, or gives me something. I get this instant rush of guilt, of “Why are you doing this for me? Do you want something from me? Or do you honestly think I deserve this?”, and as soon as I’ve – less than gracefully – accepted the gift – less than gratefully = either saying “Thank you!” a hundred times, as if the person gave me something absolutely wonderful, or grumbling about why they would do something like that for me, and could I please refuse to accept? – my mind starts racing towards options that would help me somehow repay the person for the favour/present.

Through the years I’ve had lots of theories as to why I do this. One is that I have this need to be one step ahead. I need the other person to know that I love them more, that they mean more to me than I do to them, and unless it’s either in perfect balance or I’m ahead of them in this “game”, then I panick and sit in a dark corner staring at the gaping void which is my debt to this person.

OK, that’s a little over dramatic, but you get the point.

Another possible reason is I really do not feel like I’ve earned anyone’s kindness, that I don’t deserve anyone going out of their way for me. That I have not made myself worthy their love and their displays of affection, so the little person in my head that goes “dude, you are a really crappy person, it’s a fact” has a great big party whenever someone does something really nice for me. “Look!” he says. “Here’s this really awesome person doing something really nice for you. We both know you don’t deserve it, in fact you barely deserve being acquainted with someone this awesome, so I think you should feel really, really bad about yourself now. OK. You work on that and I’m just going to go make some tea.”

Either way, it’s something I can scarcely get past, no matter how hard I try. If someone gives me a compliment about how I’m a great person or how gorgeous I look, it takes a whole lot of willpower to just say “thank you” instead of “Uhm, is there a person standing behind me that I don’t know about?” or “You are mistaken, you just need to get to know me a little better”. If someone offers me a ride, I need to be able to give them gas money, or supper, or coffee, and if all else fails, a really big hug and an “I owe you one! Next time we have lunch it’s on me!”

The number of times I’ve snuck money into people’s bags and coats, the backseat of their car, dropped a bill on the floor so they’d have to pick it up or dashed to the cash so I can pay for the meal first are too many to count. The problem goes further where it takes quite a bit of effort to ask someone to do me a favour. To ask someone for a ride for instance, I first need to make sure it wouldn’t be a bother to them, and that I can give them something in return. To ask someone to pick something up for me from the store, I need to make sure I’m cooking them dinner later. If I want someone to look at something I’ve written, I need to at least do that for them in return, or maybe send them a “thank you!” card. When I lived in Canada, our aforementioned crazy downstairs neighbours turned out to be a hopeless case and there was never peace between our two households, but here’s a little story as an example for what I’m talking about.

One Christmas, I worked long hours at both my jobs, so I was never at home and when I was it was more or less to sleep or eat. I had no energy to get the house nice for Christmas, especially when I’d be spending so little time in it. So there were two or three decorations kicking around in the living-room, but no lights, no tree, no nothing like that. I really didn’t think much of it till the neighbours left a rather acrid note, where among other things, they said “Tell Amki to stop being such a grinch and put up some lights and have a swig of wine and maybe she’ll enjoy Christmas better”. This note made me cry. Sobbing I explained to my boyfriend at the time that I was as far as one could be from a grinch, that I in fact owned not one but TWO Santa-hats, and that on both my jobs I spread the most Christmas-cheer out of anyone. So first I wrote this really elaborate poem, that went something like this;

There once was a girl, who lived on your roof.
She thought that for Christmas, she needed no proof,
That she loved it so dearly, with a glee and a joy,
That only was seen in a wee girl or boy.

Her neighbours they said “we think you’re quite bad,
yes, like a mean grinch!” and it made her right sad.
For Christmas she’d wanted some glimmering lights
to put on her house, and spark in the night.

But she’d had no time in between Christmas-shopping,
Between present-wrapping and all the corn-popping.

She hoped everyone knew, that in her heart beamed,
A love for the season that practically gleamed!
And that no-one would doubt it, so bright and so strong,
That it lit up her Christmas and all the year long.

But then as I was about to put that on their door-step, I realised it was just too spiteful, and unless it left them completely unphased, I’d just make them feel guilty. So instead, I found some time to get Christmas-lights, put them up on Christmas-eve, and left a little basket of chocolates with a note and a drawing of the Grinch on it which said; “Look up! Merry Christmas!” This resulted in the crazy neighbour-lady bundling up the stairs with a hastily wrapped box of chocolates and an offer to have some of their Christmas-dinner the next day. Everything was back to normal a few days later when they found some other strange thing to complain about. But yes, that is how I tried to resolve a situation that had started with a rather nasty insult.

This trait of mine must be really annoying to most people. Mainly because I do so love giving people things, and doing stuff for others. Now, that’s not in general. I’m not a good Samaritan. Though I get a little burst of happiness every time I manage to help a perfect stranger in whatever little way I can. But that’s just the self-righteousness getting to my head. No. I just absolutely love giving things to the people I love, anything I can do to make their lives better, anything at all to make them understand how important they are to me. So when someone loves giving and doing things for you, but turns into this little cringing, pale, wide-eyed creature every time you try to do the same for them, it tends to get annoying in the long run.

So, does anyone else have this problem? Have you had this problem but managed to work through it to the other side, where you can accept things like a normal person and not feel a twinge of guilt? Do you have any suggestions? Would you simply like to say “Oh my, first world problems, poor you. Over dramatic nutcase”? Anyway, comments of any kind would be welcome.

Oh. And the same thing goes for this post’s quote as for previous one!

Into this wild abyss

First off I’d like to apologise for yet another long absence, this time brought about by a joyful visit from none other than sleeplessknight – another blogger on WordPress – mostly consisting of watching horror-movies in the hotel-room, trying mattresses at IKEA and being very cold a lot of the time , followed by a few days of work and a pain-in-the-a** cold which has me sneezing and snotting like no other. The cold is still very much present but I don’t really need to do anything tomorrow so maybe I’ll have time to get well now.

Anyway, as so often happens, a thought struck me as I was going about my regular business and doing something completely mundane. In this case walking home from the grocery-store. I looked down on the snow and saw my shadow, split in three. This little bubbly, hazy thought popped into my head. “Huh, funny how the absence of something, in this case light, can actually create something else, in this case the shadow.” At first the thought floated around in my head for a bit and I looked at it bemused, thinking how pretty it was. Then my brain stopped dead in its tracks. Yes.

The absence of something always creates something else! The absence of material creates a hole. The absence of air creates a vacuum! Needless to say, my brain kept going in these tracks, then swung right back around. The absence of materia creates a hole where that materia should be. Then maybe, just maybe it works the same way with people? That when someone say “I miss you so much it hurts” it actually does, because the absence of that person in their lives has created a gaping, person-shaped hole in the space of their brain where they keep that person, whenever it’s present?

By this definition, anti-matter could not exist. Because as soon as we give something a name, we turn it into something, and in order for something to not be anything, we need to not know about it, not be able to see it, to define it, to name it. Anything that we are aware of therefore is forced to exist, at least on our own level of consciousness.

Sorry, slightly off track there. Just got too exciting.

Anyway, let’s say that when a person isn’t in our lives anymore, whether we’re separated by death, distance or separating ourselves from one another, there’s a hole left. In the case of a break-up, the classical rebound boy/girlfriend is often applied, much like a band-aid. The band-aid is nothing like the wound itself but it does a good job covering it up and making us forget that it’s there at all. A funeral is much like an operation, where we go through a ritual to leave a part of us behind, and a marriage adds a part to us in a more constant manner. Oftentimes we try to replace the person we miss with other people, be it friends, lovers, substitutes for grandparents or pets, wherever we turn we try to find solace and someone who will make the previous hole heal, or appear to be filled.

Some people try to fill the hole with hobbies and new interests. Sometimes the hole is easier forgotten if we move to a new place and surround ourselves by new things. Some people literally eat to fill the hole, some drink themselves into oblivion. Very few people let the hole be there and just live with it as it is. Being humans, when something is incomplete or lacking, it bothers us, even on the subconscious level of a hole left in our souls by a person missing.

What would happen if we didn’t try to fill that hole, weren’t so dead set on making it heal or hiding it? If we just let the hole be what it is, an absence of someone, would that be so bad? People adapt to everything, they adapt to losing their sight, hearing, a limb, the ability to walk, so then why not to losing someone who we are so strongly attached to? True, in the cases of losing ones senses and limbs, we often find replacements, something not quite as good as the original thing but sufficient enough that we can get by without it. But if we just let the hole be there, if we accept it as an absence of person, then maybe, after days, months, years, we’ll find something else in its place. Be it vacuum, cavity, silence or blank, the hole will eventually turn into something else, if we only look at it long enough and accept it for what it is.

Who knows, one day that hole just might become a shadow, the shadow left of the light that was cast upon the person who once stood in it, and in that shadow we may find peace.