Category Archives: English

Posts written in English.

The color of 2015.

Color? 2015? I don’t know. My planning calendar is in my phone these days.
I have no brightly colored leather-and-paper diary to show me the way.

But it’s not my “digital life” that’s made me lose my direction. It’s my “happy life”. The better my life gets, the less I need to change it. There is less pain, less struggling, less urgency. But there is also less of an obvious direction. Before, I always wanted to move upwards. Now, it’s more like “should I go right or left or straight ahead? Or just stop for a while to smell the flowers?”

Now that I no longer NEED to change my life, I can use my time and energy to enjoy it. Not that I would ever lean back and stop moving. But I don’t have to paddle like crazy to stop myself from sinking. Rather than mending what keeps falling apart, I can build new things.

Back to 2015! What shall I build?

My home. Keep the momentum going! Hire that painter to fix the ceiling. Hire that repairman to fix the window blinds. My apartment already feels more like Home than ever before, and I’m not aiming for showroom perfection, but these things are at the top of my 2015 to-do list.

My body. Keep it up! Last year’s training and eating have given me a good foundation. I can feel it. I still enjoy my sweets and salties, and I’m still struggling with my core strength. But I’m getting stronger and healthier, despite my age, and I’m looking forward to this year’s races: 80K in April, 50K in June, and 90K in August.

My soul. Stay true to myself! Too much ITF* socializing makes me tired and unhappy. So keep declining event invitations and embracing alone-time! It’s working. However, while I need to be economic with my time, I can be generous with money, and donate to causes that I believe in. I can also be generous with love. Keep heart and mind open, see the good in people, smile and look people in the eyes, show appreciation, give a helping hand. Don’t hate. Don’t put people down. Don’t hold a grudge, and don’t pass it on to others. Apologize.

What about that other kind of love? Finding it has been on my wish list (to-do list?) for some time now. And I did try online dating in 2014. But it’s SO boring. Why can’t my friends just set me up with someone perfect? (Hint!) Whether I find him, or don’t find him, I will always be the love of my life.

And what about color? Let’s say the colors of 2015 are black, grey and navy blue. My favorite colors. Then maybe 2015 will be my favorite year. So far.

* ITF = in the flesh

Naivt, överkänsligt önsketänkande.

Var kommer fiendskapen ifrån? Jag ser hur vi blir varandras motståndare. Vi som annars uppskattar eller åtminstone accepterar varandras olikheter. Vi som egentligen har en mycket viktigare gemensam motståndare: Rasismen.

Visst, det är ok att tycka olika. Det är bra att tycka olika. Och jag är medveten om att min personlighet är alltför empatisk och diplomatisk för politiken. Men när det bara handlar om att angripa och ta poäng på motståndaren med lögner, enögdhet och nedsättande epitet, för oliktänkandet oss verkligen framåt då? Eller blir vi alla till slut ”jävla idioter” för varandra?

Ena sidan säger att klyftorna ökar. Andra sidan säger att de ökade klyftorna har planat ut sedan man tog över makten.

Ena sidan säger att skatterna har sänkts medan välfärden monterats ner. Andra sidan säger att välfärden fått mer resurser än någonsin tidigare.

Ena sidan säger att arbetslösheten har ökat. Andra sidan säger att sysselsättningen har ökat.

Ena sidan säger att Fredrik Reinfeldts vädjande om att ”öppna våra hjärtan” även om det kostar var en kapitulation, en bekräftelse av SD:s retorik. Andra sidan säger att det var ansvarstagande och en markering mot SD.

För mig väckte de där orden andra tankar. Tankar om vikten av att välja öppenhet och generositet även när det kostar. För inte kan väl öppenhet och generositet villkoras med huruvida det kostar eller inte? Människan, när hon är som bäst, öppnar sitt hjärta för att det är rätt, inte för att hon har råd.

Jag önskar att vi kunde fortsätta tycka olika och diskutera passionerat, men utan att ljuga och förvränga. Utan att förakta människan bakom åsikten. Med ödmjukhet inför att ingen förstår allt, ingen har helt rätt.

Och så önskar jag att du röstar på vad som helst utom SD. För kärlekens skull.

Inget att skämmas för.

Jag har precis läst ut Susan Cains Quiet. Ett kapitel handlar om introverta barn, som ofta får höra och uppleva att det är något fel på dem, att de måste ”komma ut ur sina skal” och bli mer utåtriktade. I själva verket är de bara skapta på ett annat sätt, optimerade för mindre stimulans och mer intima sociala situationer. De är inte asociala; de är bara bättre på att interagera med en människa i taget.

Två skamfyllda minnen dyker plötsligt upp.

  1. Det är en vanlig dag i Steningeskolan. Jag går i andra eller tredje klass. Min kompis Mia och jag bestämmer att vi ska leka hemma hos henne efter skolan. Senare frågar vår klasskompis Marie om hon också får följa med, men vi vill vara ensamma.

    När vi kommer hem till Mia får hennes mamma höra om Marie, och blir upprörd. Självklart ska hon få vara med. Så blir det. Och jag skäms över att vi försökte stänga henne ute.

  1. Det är en solig sommardag. Sommarlov. Jag är vid simbassängen och badar med min kompis Linda. Vår gemensamma kompis Therese kommer också dit, och Linda frågar mig om hon får vara med oss. Jag säger nej, jag vill vara ensam med Linda. Men det slutar med att de två leker istället, och fryser ut mig.

    Sedan går de därifrån och skriver ett hatbrev till mig, med en lista på alla som hatar mig (som egentligen inte alls hatar mig) och allt som jag är dålig på (framför allt sådan som jag egentligen är väldigt bra på, t.ex. att sjunga och rita). Jag vet att allt är lögn, men det känns ändå fruktansvärt att vara så avskydd. Skammen blir dessutom dubbel, eftersom det var jag som började, med att inte vilja släppa in Therese i leken.

Det är två starka minnen, som följt mig genom livet. I trettio år har de haft makt att fylla mig med skam och skuldkänslor.

Nu inser jag att jag inte var elak och egoistisk. Jag följde bara min natur. Som introvert hade jag redan då behov av mindre extern stimulans och mer intima sociala situationer. Jag kände mig tryggare och gladare med en kompis åt gången. Jag menar inte att det för den sakens skull blir ok att utestänga någon som inte gjort sig förtjänt av det. Någon vars enda ”fel” är att hen vill vara med och leka. Nej. Men jag förstår plötsligt att den 9-åriga Anna inte behöver skämmas längre. Och det behöver inte 40-åringen heller.

Otherhood

A few years ago, I considered having a baby on my own, by way of artificial insemination. I had been single for a couple of years, and realized that if I wanted children, I might have to go it alone. I read about it, and thought about it. Pretty soon though, I realized I didn’t want it enough to take that huge, irrevocable step on my own. My only real pro-motherhood reason was that I might one day regret not having children, and then it would be too late.

It’s still not too late, biologically. But I still don’t want it. In fact, this conviction has only grown stronger in me. It’s not that I don’t like children, it’s that I really don’t want to be a mother. I want complete ownership of myself and of my life. I only have this me, this life, and I am not willing to hand over the reins to anyone else. Not again.

Before thirty, life just happened. I just tagged along. Then I woke up and started taking risks, making decisions based on what I wanted. I’ve been single ever since.

Although I long for a man to love and to share my life with, staying single between 30 and 40 might have been my “salvation”. If I had stayed in my earlier relationship, or entered into another one, I would probably have been a mother by now. Just because that’s the way life goes. Instead, I have had the time and space to make myself happy, and figure out what I really want.

It often strikes me how perfectly this otherhood fits me. Some people hate being alone. I love it! Some people coordinate their family lives with the professional efficiency of an office manager. I’m a logistic disaster. Sure, you don’t have to be the perfect “parent type” to be a mother. It’s just that I’d rather be an other.

Are you wasting your time on staying busy?

It’s Wednesday evening. Outside my open balcony door spring is sunny but chilly, and my bare feet are cold. I’m half changed into running gear, but for the last half hour I’ve been curled up on my couch next to the furry, purring body of my cat. I gently scratch her fluffy stomach, her chin and her neck. Kiss her little head. She’s warm, and she warms my heart.

I’m not doing anything useful. Not solving any problems or planning my next move. Not even scolding myself for being lazy. I’m just cuddling with my cat. And it’s awesome. In fact, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do right now.

But time is fleeing, I only have one life, and there’s so much I could accomplish!

Yes. But right now, I want to pet my cat. If there is no time for petting your cat (or playing with your children or chilling with your friends or making out with your lover or whatever), then what’s time worth?

I’m not making the world go round. But guess what? Neither are you.

Feel-good tragedy.

I love tragic fiction. I love the way it gets under my skin and moves me. I also love the way it reminds me how glad I am. Glad that I wasn’t born in a time or a place where I would have been my father’s and later my husband’s property. Glad that I have never had to endure war, famine or poverty.

Tragic fiction reminds me of these things, and others. And then, unlike real-life tragedy, it ends. I go back to my privileged, (at present) non-tragic life. Momentarily shaken and stirred, but not shattered.

Last night I saw Revolutionary Road, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. I read the novel, by Richard Yates, a few years ago. Both the film and the novel are really good. At least if you like tragedy.

The story reminded me how glad I am to be born in Sweden, in the 1970s. How glad I am to have the courage to go my own way. How glad I am that I never had children.

Vem är Alice?

“I’ve learned not to worry about love, but to honor its coming with all my heart. To examine the dark mysteries of the blood with headless heed and swirl, to know the rush of feelings, swift and flowing as water. The new face I turn up to you, no one else on earth has ever seen.”

Orden är Alice Walkers. För några månader sedan visste jag inte vem hon var, fastän jag hade sett den världsberömda, Oscarsbelönade, Spielberg-regisserade filmen baserad på hennes mest kända roman: The Color Purple. Purpurfärgen.

För några månader sedan råkade jag se en dokumentär om henne och insåg då att hon är så mycket mer än författaren till Pulitzer-prisbelönta Purpurfärgen. Det var då jag skrev ner det där citatet, som gick rakt in i hjärtat på mig.

Hon var yngst av åtta barn i en fattig, afroamerikansk familj i Georgia, och växte upp under en tid där slaveriet fortfarande kastade långa skuggor över den amerikanska södern. Rasismen var inte bara norm, utan lagstadgad. Alice Walker var 11 år när Rosa Parks gjorde sin berömda bussresa och medborgarrättsrörelsen föddes.

Mot alla odds arbetade hon sig till framgång, i high school, vid universitetet och som författare. Dessutom verkar hon vara en fascinerande person med stark integritet.

Jag kan inte berätta allt om henne här. Dels blir det ett alltför långt inlägg, dels vet jag inte tillräckligt. Så jag avslutar med ytterligare ett Alice Walker-citat ur filmen:

“I left formal religion when I was thirteen, in favor of the forest. I would spend every Sunday reveling in the glory of nature. The trees and the flowers, the sun and the wind and the rain storms. You know, this is the only heaven I care for. If there’s another one, go. Just leave me here. Mhm.”

Nr 26/100

The color of 2014

In 2013…

I had a bright red diary, ”for energy, joy and generosity. Red for following my heart, loving without fear and taking center stage. Red like my face will be after I’ve run 53K on the 29th of June.”

I ran my first ultra marathon. Yes, I did it! But of course I did it. My dad even told me afterwards: “Every time we saw you along the road, you seemed happy and determined. There was never any doubt in your eyes.” And he was right. I was happy and determined, with three affirmations going through my head:
1. “When in doubt, move forward”
2. “I can do this”
3. “Pain is nothing”
They all just appeared in my head along the way. And I did it.

I became a crazy cat lady. Cats have always been my favorite animal, but I never dared take responsibility of another living being before. Until now. Tuffa is a middle-aged, black lady, and the best cat in the world. Becoming her human was the best thing I did last year.

I had my first whole year with antidepressants. Bliss! Not that they make life easy. They just make life not feel like a pointless pain in the ass. They let me be the person I want to be, instead of the person I manage to portray without falling apart. I used to be an antidepressant sceptic. Now I’m a fan.

I got louder and bigger. Louder? Speaking my mind, challenging the status quo, trusting my competence and my opinions. Bigger? Standing proud, wearing high heels more often. Uncrossing my legs and arms, opening up my body language to match my intellect and my emotions.

In 2014…

I want to live more. Travel more, create more, give more, learn and grow more.

I want to finish UltraVasan (90K) in August. Correction: I’m going to finish UltraVasan.

I want love. I really do. Not children. Just a best friend and faithful, passionate lover.

I want structure. Just a little bit. And that’s why the color of 2014 is…no color. Or every color. I’m finally going diary digital. Because, if I want something to change, I have to change something.

Death and I

I think of death quite often. Every time I board an airplane, for example, I think: ”I might die now”. My next thought is ”but I’m not going to stay at home for the rest of my life, so I’ll just have to accept whatever happens”. Sometimes I go on to thinking about my apartment, and how my dying would leave an awful mess for others to tidy up.

Only once have I really thought that I really might die; the first time I had a pneumothorax. My chest tightened and I thought I was having a heart attack. I cried bitterly then, because I had just started to like living. I was not afraid, but disappointed.

I am an atheist. I do not believe in any deity, nor do I believe in a life after this one. Not through reincarnation, not by heavenly ascent or infernal descent. Maybe I’m wrong. But I just don’t believe in it. Life is magical as it is, without higher power or purpose.

I have not had much experience with death. Yet. I did not know my grandfathers. One was killed by alcohol, the other by cigarettes. My grandmothers on the other hand, were very dear to me. One died in her sleep. I had been to see her the night before, and she seemed more at peace than in a long time. The other died on the operating table. During the last months of her life, she had been bleeding internally, yet continued to cook, mangle her sheets and keep her three-room apartment nice and tidy.

I miss them both and speak to them now and then. True, I don’t believe they can hear me in some after-life. But they are a part of me, and, as long as I live, the part of me that is them also lives.

I have no children, and I never will. Physically, no part of me will live on after I’m gone. Emotionally, mentally, I will remain in the memories of some who outlive me. Unless I do something grand in whatever time I have left, those memories will die with their owners, and there will be nothing left of me but worm food. And perhaps this blog.

A pebble in my shoe.

 

I couldn’t say yes. Can’t say no. Can’t let go of what I know.
At first I was puzzled. Then I was mad. Now I think it’s good to be bad.

Cannot unhear. Cannot unsee. Those words, those eyes observing me.
They tickle and tease. They’re so wrong they’re right.
I let them tuck me in at night.