Generational Shame

It’s a sad moment, when you realise just what your generation will leave behind for the after-world to say “aaaahhhh” over. What kind of “aaahhh” this is is completely dependant on what the people born in your decade can all nod and smile about, with this deeper understanding, this secret handshake, that anyone born after you will never quite be able to get to the same level. My husband can say “I love the Star Wars movies” without having to explain which ‘generation’ of Star Wars he was referring to. My oldest brother played the original Super Mario games before it became hipster-chique to play them. And I… I bonded over the Little Mermaid with a girl my age in Shakespeare class today.

This is very sad. I am simply wondering if the people growing up during the 90s have something to be proud of? What did we have that has become… cool? Hip? Trendy, because the geek-chique of today approve of it? I missed the wave of Barbie-Dolls, Spice Girls and Take That which swept over a world of pink and glitter, in a strange 90s which idealised the extremely girly or the extremely grungy. Mostly, people my age and I have little to bond over, but that it has to be Disney Movies is no consolation. I DID manage to snag a small corner of the ‘white but still cool and not completely bonkers Michael Jackson’ era, but everyone agrees that Thriller and Bad were his hay-days. I could not have told you who Nirvana were before the later part of the first decade of this millennium… but I actually still can’t. Though I have understood it has something to do with Kurt Cobain (oh look, I spelled that right before I looked it up!) and him shooting himself even though he swore he didn’t have a gun in the song. I also caught up with the other guys way after it was cool to listen to them: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Cake, Pearl Jam, Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day… I started listening to them when it was cool to listen to them AGAIN. (I’m referring to the bulging mass of Indie-kids of today, who think that a band is only worth listening to if they played alternative rock in the 90s, or even better, you don’t know who they are, have never heard of them, and “don’t get their sound” when you’re made to listen to them.)

One good reason I missed out on plenty of 90s music is because when Silence of the Lambs came out I was only 3, and around the same age with the other “people will never forget about them and keep quoting them to death” movies: Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, Schindler’s List, Titanic, Jurassic Park, The Matrix (first one) etc. I did get in on most of the Disney Action: The Lion King was enormous, as was Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. I did miss out on Toy Story. I wonder why my parents decided that one in particular wasn’t anything for us. Would it make us want toys? Are the cowboy and the astronaut too stereotypical to be good heroes for hippie-kids? No, that doesn’t make any sense. Because I never saw Pocahontas either.

Anyway, I just hope that something from my time will become cool again. Not Indie-kid cool, or hipster cool, and definitely not american football-player cool. No. I hope something from the 90s will be cool to the new ruling class: the geeks and nerds of the world. In case no-one else noticed, being geeky and nerdy has magically become the new sexy (more on that in some later blog-post). I just hope that when my children grow up, I can tell them better things than “when I lived in Canada, Justin Bieber became famous” or “Miley Cirus actually went from bad to fucking crazily nutty seriously what are you doing? Seriously” or “Well, at least Britney Spears isn’t popular anymore…”. We have one hero from the 90s, though I don’t think he is to the geeks: a man who managed to leave a sad boy-band and instead of failing completely, turned out some pretty good music, because he actually had a voice, and a personality. Yes, I think we all know that we’re talking about Robbie here. So there was always something good that the 90s left behind (though it took till the new millennium for that transformation to finish).

If you would like to point out something positive the 90s gave us which is cool/useful/nice/edible/acceptable to geeks, please chime in, and make me feel a bit better about being… a 90s kid.

I leave you with this sad and hopeful tune.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D35vfQ7eZg

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Blog-nill Busyness

This has probably been one of the longest blackouts in my the history of my blog. Fairly certain of it. I would say that it’s not because I’ve been insanely busy, but because I have FELT extremely busy. You know how some days you feel like there couldn’t possibly be enough time for all the things you have to do, then you manage to do them all and feel so exhausted from the achievement that you plop into bed early? It hasn’t been like that either.

 

But I have felt really busy, because I am writing my BA in English Literature, and baby-sitting two wonderful children, writing poetry again, playing Skyrim and trying to use any left-over seconds and minutes on spending time with my husband, because it is what holds me together.

 

I realised yesterday that certain things just go once you’re too busy. Amazing super-hero couples who get children start slacking off in areas of their lives where they were always on top off the things before. Organised young women become less organised. OCD young men start realising that maybe their disorder wasn’t so serious, because the mess doesn’t bother them anymore.

 

Here’s a list of things I realised go when you’re “too busy”:

 

1. Blog.

Don’t think I need to say much here. Unless you are a very popular blogger, whose life it is to blog, who spends a minimum of two hours a day on their blog and commenting and networking… you’ll probably stop blogging for a while. Strangely enough, it’s when life gives you more to blog about that you don’t have the time to blog about it. (Though I very much doubt that anyone would WANT me to blog about my 25 page essay on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and the various forms of critique it has been subject to. Though it’s actually really interesting. It is!)

 

2. Social life

“I would love to come, but…” becomes your new catch-phrase. Often you would love to come, but there is also a certain relief in being able to hide yourself under heaps of busyness and let the rest of the world socialise with itself for a while. They’ll be fine. They may accuse you of being a hermit and boring and that you don’t love them anymore, but they’ll come around once you’re out of the bubble again. I hope.

 

3. Cleaning

Now that you don’t have people over anymore, and you are either out of the house doing busy things, or in front of your computer doing busy things, or in your bed reading about busy things… You stop noticing what your floor and your bathroom looks like. I remember very well indeed, days and weeks when I had absolutely nothing to do, which would tend to end in someone or other coming home and me trying to subtly get them to notice how shiny the kitchen had become while they were out, or how the lamps are a bit brighter, and the toothbrushes whiter… When I am restless and bored, I clean. But when I’m busy, I clearly don’t.

 

4. Personal hygiene

Or grooming, maybe I should say. Though showering becomes one of those “did we shower yesterday or the day before? Can’t remember. Can’t be bothered. I’m probably clean” things. But plucking your eyebrows turns into this ludicrous waste of time, attempting to make your hair look a little less like a sad dog before you leave the house is a no go, and whether your clothes are matchy or just serve the purpose that is currently required of them (right now warm, waterproof and covering all my rude bits) is not really a question anymore: the matchy goes.

 

5. Sleep

This should be further up the list, probably. The busier we get, the less we see those few hours of empty brain-ness as time-wasting crap. The problem is of course that the busier you are, the more tired you are, and the less sleep you allow yourself, till you just want to cry because you’re so tired but you just have to finish writing this assignment first…

 

6. Food

First, you stop cooking anything complicated that will take too long. Then, you stop cooking all the meals you used to. Finally, you live on snacks and toast. Or snack. Singular.

 

7. Health and fitness

Let’s stop thinking of this list in chronological order, because this should really go at the top. If we have any excuse in our lives to stop working out, we usually do. But with the busy comes this feeling that we can’t allow ourselves to be ill, to have colds, headaches, muscle-aches… So out of the house you go, face imploding, because you are too busy to take a break and let your body get back to normal.

 

8. More stuff

What goes for you when you’re busy? What are the first things you give up/neglect when life comes around and starts getting you terribly involved in living it? Besides your blog, of course… say your blog… it’s not just me, say it… please…

What Would You Have Done?

Besides my new Stumbleupon fad (which I shall nurture in your little souls and hearts at the end of this post by giving you a few links to my most recent fave-stumbles), I have decided on a “frequent visitor” post: What Would You Have Done? Why? I will tell you.

A few minutes ago, whilst washing up, my room-mate told me and my husband a story from her work earlier today:

A woman had come into the store and told my room-mate that “My husband just died, so I need to buy…” My room-mate was stumped about how to respond, and said something along the lines of “oops” (though this whole conversation was in Swedish, so she actually said “ojdå”, which isn’t quite as funny as “oops”, but almost. When my room-mate told me this, I got a sadly hilarious image of someone just telling you their husband died because he slipped on a banana-peel while climbing a ladder and fell into a big tub of whipped cream and drowned. That is the sort of image that saying “oops” to “my husband just died” evokes in me. Yes, there is something wrong with me). When the woman left, my room-mate simply said “bye”. Because…

What do you say? We do have an equivalent of “my condolences” in Swedish, but it is so out-dated and formal as to be almost cold. You could say “I’m sorry” but you can’t really apologise because, well, it’s not like you caused their deaths. (And in Swedish, “Jag är ledsen” sounds more like an apology). You could say “that’s sad” but that is a statement, which in fact sounds rather stupid, because of course the widow knows it’s SAD that her husband died.

Once you’ve gotten over the hurdle of figuring out how to respond to “my husband just died, so…”, you get to the “what to say as a good-bye?” issue. Like my room-mate pointed out, you can’t really say “have a nice day” or “hope it gets better” or something to that effect, so you end up with a very awkward “bye”. Or…

What would you have done?

Do you get the theme of this now? So every once in a while, when something happens to me, or someone I know, or a friend of a friend… I shall write a post, because the question stumps me, and I would really like some advice in case I end up in a similar situation in the future.

So give us a comment below to let us know what you clever, sensitive people would have said in response, and here are the deliciously awesome Stumble-links for this post:

My husband found it quite hilarious and sweet how excited I got over the carrot-fact at the top of this page. You have to admit it has a certain wow-factor though. Or a no-way-factor. Some kind of factor.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/01/10-fascinating-food-facts/

Most of these adds are either “you clever boy” chuckley or simply genius

http://www.sortrature.com/24-clever-print-ads/

Kinda pretty, and probably something I’ll try someday when I am dying with boredom.

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/976091/latte-coffee-spoons/

These blow my mind, clean and simple. I could not believe some of these were actually drawings. Still can’t.

http://twentytwowords.com/2013/06/18/pencil-sketches-that-seem-to-stand-up-off-the-page-12-pictures/

Much of this made me go “he he he” or “woooow!” I have to admit I found the Spongebob one especially hilarious. Sadistic streak in me.

http://www.mrpilgrim.co.uk/inventive-urban-art-cool-street-art/#.UiuWfNLWUr8

Usually I go “euuuargh!” when I get a paper-cut. If I got one of these, I would be very happy.

http://www.picamemag.com/a4-pepercuts/

See you soon, me hearties!

Stumbling through time

Of late, I have found myself restless and worried. It’s quite common for the mood to shift with the seasons, and autumn is undoubtedly arriving, at least up north here in Sweden. With it come the colds. I think most everyone I know has been posting about how sniffly they are and their sore throats on facebook for the past two weeks.

In this restlessness, I found myself looking for a new facebook game to play. Yes. I was actually looking for a new facebook game. Actively. And I already play 3. Well, two that I play, one that I have lost my addiction to. So I stopped what I realised must be a clear sign of desperation and sat down to write out things that me and my husband like to do, that we are good at. We intend to start our own company, but all the things we are good at are fairly… insubstantial. Creativity, writing, story-telling, analysing, prop-making… and most of those are just my husband’s. So attempting to start a company, based on passion alone, with no funds, and little actual professional experience, has proven a frustrating process. (If any of my beloved readers have suggestions based on the things I wrote above, please, tell me. I would love comments with suggestions).

So after I stopped myself in the hunt for a new facebook game, and then put the company ideas on the shelf until further notice, I delved deeper into my latest obsession: Stumbleupon. I can, honestly, sit for hours and just “stumble”. I felt that my posts need some form of gimmick, so from now on, I shall attempt to end my posts with a few links to things I recently stumbled upon and thoroughly enjoyed, for one reason or another.  So I shall kick this off by sharing a LOT of things that I enjoyed on Stumbleupon.

This man creates an “image” on the wall through the shadow of objects. Quite astounding.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/4yvz0l/catinwater.com/2012/08/21/rashad-alakbarov-paints-with-shadows-and-light/

This picture made me smile… a lot 🙂

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/323KpH/media.al.com/birmingham-buzz/photo/goldie1971jpg-a0de64e9bd62fd9b.jpg/

These pictures of snowflakes are so incredibly beautiful. I know macro-photos of snowflakes aren’t new and exciting any more, but I will always find them extraordinary.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2pnYmj/www.petapixel.com/2012/12/07/ethereal-macro-photos-of-snowflakes-in-the-moments-before-they-disappear/

This is an amusing, interactive page.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1n6win/www.drawastickman.com/episode1?o=66-69-32-67-82-69-65-84-73-86-69s66-89-58-32-84-72-69-32-66-65-78-68-69-69/

And finally, an adorable video of a grizzly bear cub playing with a wolf puppy. Daaaaaaw!

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/30xLvD/www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL8x7LcA-Y4/

Just a note to say…

I will not have an awful lot of time to write for the next few days, as they will be spent cooking, decorating, planning and freaking out about the wedding… a wedding which is less than a week away now! I just wrote to let you all know that though I may have a short, productive blog-break, my husband-to-be is now posting everyday, and not just anything…

He is posting our story. It’s the short, the oh so very short, version of it, but it’s there. So if you’re looking for something to read that has very much to do with me, and everything to do with us, go there. He has so far posted 3 out of 9 “chapters”, and you can find the first, second and third here. It may be of special interest to you because our story started right here, on WordPress, a little over 2 years ago now. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

In my freezer, I have 54 cinnamon-buns and 3 cheese and onion pies. I just removed 99 stickers from 33 candle-holders, and then washed and dried them individually. My arms are aching from carrying toddlers and groceries. I am very excited, rather stressed and so deeply happy.

 

 

I would like to be feeling like this:

calmbride

But I actually feel like this.

stressedbride

Oh well. It’ll all be fine.

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.

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?