To Be In The Moment

Hello darling friends and readers! Sunday is here and I’m wondering where the weekend went. I said to myself on Friday that I would spend my weekend outside, preferably taking some nature walks with Loke, maybe even visit Sammallahdenmäki again. I imagine it’s so beautiful right now — all that moss and lichen crawling over the ancient burial grounds beneath a vibrant canopy. Lilli wanted to go into Lappi to play with her friends, so I thought it was a brilliant plan.

And then the rain came.

sunlit-rain

On Friday afternoon, Jay sent me a message from the fields to alert me to big droplets falling from sunlit skies. Even if his visions and opinions of what is a great photo don’t always match mine, it makes me really happy that he has taken such a big interest. At times it has seemed he doesn’t even notice, but he really does. He just isn’t the kind of person to verbalise or even show it very often. I tend to forget, but then it’s all the more precious when I remember. Do you know what I mean?

I sat in the doorway again to shoot. This zoom lens is amazing, but I have also noticed that I have gotten a little lazy with moving around. When I can get to my targets by a mere twist of my wrist my feet stay in one spot. No change of angle, no circling the scene — this hit me as I sat on those steps. But my camera isn’t waterproof, nor does the lens repel water droplets, so I wondered once again how other photographers manage to capture all these wonderful rainy moments. I gave the old umbrella in our foyer a skeptical glance. I already knew I am far from steady with my hands, so to balance an umbrella while keeping the camera still seemed so daunting, but I did give it a try.

What I thought I would do, then, this weekend, since I have been stuck inside, was to gather some of my rain photos and blog about it. And then I remembered I didn’t join the Weekly Photo Challenge last week. So I looked up the prompt, and when I saw pedestrian, I knew my time had come to finally share my photos from VanhaRauma. Conveniently — or meant to be? — I was in Rauma on Friday, too. I had my camera with me and got a few captures of Vanha Rauma dressed in autumn’s golden autumn tones.

park-bench-vanha-rauma

I love these little “coincidences”. Twists of fate. I release a wish and, suddenly, out of nowhere, there it is. Like the mushrooms I talked about with some friends on Thursday, how I seem to find mostly soggy or frayed specimens. For the longest time I wanted to find and capture a round little fly amanita (fly mushroom in Swedish) without much luck. And then I found one only a few steps from where I parked my car in town! The last place I would have expected to find one.

park-mushroom-vanha-rauma

I can’t even recall how many times in my life I seem to have stumbled into these moments. Let it go, let the pieces fall as they may. Give up the search and whatever I sought has been found. Even blog posts, now that I think about it. They hardly ever turn out according to plan, and most of the time when I make an outline in my head I can’t even begin. So I open up a draft and just write. That is when it all comes together. Maybe not always with the greatest coherence or a neat, red line.

architecture-vanha-rauma

Yesterday morning I was so tired I could hardly open my eyes, but I went straight to work on editing once the coffee was ready. As I sat there, I wrote in my journal if I start the day with housework, creativity suffers. If I start the day with creativity, housework suffers. This is something I have thought about a lot lately. The state of this place slowly falls into mess and disorganisation, and I think right, time to get on top of it again. Once I put my mind to it, I am efficient. But as the floors shine, the sofas are free of clothes, and the countertops in the kitchen sparkle, my camera and my computer stand untouched. There is no mud on my shoes to tell the story of long walks through the forest.

rowan-of-vanha-rauma

Anything that requires a plan, an outline, a well thought out step-by-step schedule swallows all those things needed for my artistry. Ideas and inspiration fade into the background. My entire creative process suffers. I have yet to find the balance, and I sometimes wonder if it is even possible. Just like with those moments when things just happen because I let them go, I know that when I try too hard, look too closely, I go blind. I lose my sense of touch. That feeling and emotion goes numb.

kuninkaankatu-vanha-rauma

Ever since this spring, when I visited Sammallahdenmäki (a UNESCO World Heritage site and Bronze Age burial ground on the outskirts of Lappi), I got the idea to take you on a walk through Vanha Rauma. Another World Heritage site. I thought I would do it during Rauman Pitsiviikko — an annual culture event. Pitsi translates to lace, and this event came about from the making of bobbin lace. It was once a big thing here, and I think it still might be. During Pitsiviikko there are people and markets everywhere, from all parts of Finland. I couldn’t think of a more perfect opportunity to capture the beating heart of Finnish history and culture mingling. I painted up a mental plan in my head of what types of photos I would take and got really excited about it. It seems as though I completed it so beautifully in my head that when Rauman Pitsiviikko rolled around, I had nothing left to draw from, and in the end I went without my camera.

isokirkkokatu-goto-restaurant-vanha-rauma

beauty-salon-vanha-rauma

On both occasions from where these photos are taken I had no plan, no goal. I did want to take some self-portraits and dressed for the occasion, but once I wandered among these buildings that thought vanished.

cafe-sali-vanha-rauma
My favourite café. The staff is so lovely and they have a very tasty selection of cakes, cookies and coffee breads.

symmetry-vanha-rauma

I may be a big lover of nature, but Old Rauma is very special. I have mixed emotions about Stockholm, but I love walking through Old Town and along the canals. Old buildings and architecture like this gives me a feeling of hovering in-between now and then. I imagine horses and carriages, market stalls, gentlemen in long coats and hats, ladies in their dresses and timeless hairdo’s. There is something about street musicians that always adds to this magic. Unfortunately none were seen on this day.

tullin-kaffe-vanha-rauma

cobble-stone-foliage-details-vanha-rauma

 

 

 

Sometimes I wish I could go on these adventures with all things required packed into the car. My camera gear, my laptop, and do my blog posts on moving foot, so to speak. It is when I am in the moment that the impressions of my experiences and senses have most vibrance. They are fresh in my mind and the emotion that goes with it alive.

walking-the-outskirts-vanha-rauma

vibrant-vines-vanha-rauman-kellari

autumn-glow-vanha-rauma

On these days I thought how cozy it would have been to at the end of my photo walk go to my favourite café. To sit there with a cup of coffee and my laptop to go through the photos, then write about it. Still surrounded by the sights and smells.

So, with all this said, I think the definition of pedestrian according to the dictionary is so strange. Boring, tedious, uninspired, uncreative, unimaginative, monotonous. Being a pedestrian is anything and everything but lifeless or uneventful. Being the pedestrian in the moment, no matter the scenery, is to me one of the best parts of any journey. Planning and speedy results are to me dull. But then I didn’t always see it that way. Once I wanted to get to my destination fast and without delay. And of course I still find my way back to drumming my fingertips and drawing deep sighs, checking my wrist watch and wanting time to speed up.

Luckily, these days I do have my camera. I can and even want to capture these moments. Prolong them. Enhance them. Immortalise them. And I think that it is all there in the light and shadows, the tones and stilled movement, even if I can’t always remember every aspect of what it was truly like.

Now, my dears, I would like to wish you a wonderful remainder of this Sunday, and a good week ahead. Much love. ❤

 

 

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A Serene Awakening In The Mist

Hello dearest friends.

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a date with Jay and the harvester. It’s not by any means one of those bigger models, but it weighs over five thousand kilos and is big enough for someone who thinks a tractor is big. When I sat up in the cabin of the harvester the tractor that usually seems so huge appeared to be oddly little next to it. This is the only harvester I have seen up close and personal, but can you believe it is operated by what looks like a gaming joystick? Push forward for driving forward, pull back for reverse, and the buttons control the tray and the big barrel that grabs the stalks and pull them toward the cutters. I can imagine it’s fun… once you learn.

Oh, it was very tricky and I didn’t get a hang of it this time. At one moment, when I had to reverse, Jay opened the door to step out on the landing to look and tell me when to stop and turn. I have just started to get a feel for the turning circle on a tractor, then this! Haha I was so awkward with my movements that the entire harvester jerked as I tried to maneuver it, and I can’t remember what I did but suddenly that big machine launched forward. If Jay hadn’t held on to the railings he would have flown right off! He took it all in good humour, but I felt so bad. No wonder he didn’t ask me to come back after I went to pick up our daughter from a birthday party. Haha

dewy-webbed-flowers

Earlier this week I had the greatest pleasure and fortune to witness one of the most beautiful and mystical misty mornings, and ever since I have been wanting to tell you about it.

When I left Sweden after finishing my studies, I have had this tendency to compare these surroundings to the majestic forests and mountains of my childhood regions. I have thought of Ångermanälven and its enchanting veils, the shifting tones dressing the mountains and valleys around it as we move toward winter with a sense of wistful longing. While mist isn’t uncommon here, and the forests are just as deep and mystical, I seem to have had it in my head that it isn’t the same. That somehow the spirit of these forests is a different one and we haven’t gotten fully acquainted yet. Does that make sense?

misty-veils-across-fields

Regardless, mornings like these carry a very special magic. When these flowing veils dance on feathered feet over the lands, they bring a quiet with them that seems to turn up the volume to an otherworldliness without definition. An atmosphere of something else entirely, something that at other times can’t be sensed. Have you ever felt it?

That night I was outside working with Jay and stood in the open doorway to peer into the grain container, I swore I could hear women singing. It sounded like they sang in Finnish, but a very unfamiliar kind. I explained to Jay why I went to stand in the corner where the mist couldn’t get into the building. I wasn’t so much frightened than just puzzled as to why I could hear it when the mist flowed past me and not when in that corner. He told me, jokingly, that perhaps it’s time I get my head checked.

dead-tree-in-hazy-morning

There have been times throughout my life when I have been more heart than head, more emotion and unheeded reaction than thoughtful action. Moments wherein I have been like a leaf in the wind (as my father so often called me), but words of caution, responsibility, right or wrong, echoed with every step I took. As a result I always felt a sense of choked delight. As though while I went my own way, my feet felt shackled and my heart torn. Shame. Shame for my dreams, for what I wanted and chased after in spite of those reprimanding voices in my head. I traveled wide and far in my little cage, with my wings constantly getting tangled up in the bars around me.

And for every lecture, for every time I received criticism or was prompted to think about what I was doing — what are you going to do with your life? — that door to my cage I kept rattling slammed into my face. Yet somehow I managed to keep on going. I adapted a way to be, since I didn’t even know how to free myself. I didn’t even know I could.

deer-in-misty-glowing-field

I have heard that people who lose a limb can still sense it there. Wiggle the toes of an amputated leg, feel an itch, even if it’s not there. That is how I perceive this cage I lived with it so long. Now that I am finally rid of it I still feel its remnants around me.

I have to fight just as hard to walk my own way as I did before, only the battle is wanting to, telling myself what I once didn’t have to, what I just knew, yet felt such deep shame for. Get your camera and go outside. Take out a piece of paper and draw. Go explore the forest. How can something that brings so much joy and soul-deep happiness be so exhausting to make myself do? Once I am there in the moment, I let go. I feel the wind on my face, the flow of life around me. But to get there I have to work my butt off on many days.

farm-shed-outline-in-mist

On this particular morning I didn’t even have to conjure the thought process. I looked out the window and knew that as soon as my daughter walked out the door to her taxi, I would join her with Loke by my side.

Moments like these give me strength and energy beyond imagination. On my worst days they confound me but give me hope. Underneath the weight of a heavy heart and bones lies a knowing the feeling will pass. I tell myself that one day I will have done more living than slumbering, and I will have regained my balance once more.

In the meantime, I want to stay awake and alert, even when it seems like all I can do is wait for that mystifying apathy to pass. I want to learn as much about myself and this stage as I can. And I hope with all my heart that one day what I go through can somehow help others through their dark hours. To know it won’t last forever.

vibrant-misty-autumn-colours

thick-mist-sunrise-treeline

To even think I was alone in this put me in isolation. Like I swam dark, deep waters with no sense of direction of the shore. Was there even a shore? Was this to be the rest of my life? Now that I know I am indeed not alone it has helped me to stay afloat when the night closes around me.

dew-drops-in-misty-sunrise

Sunrises, just before they happen, are to me so incredibly beautiful. That rimmed glow of the clouds, the clean golden shimmer kissing the tree tops. Ever so slowly that shimmer melts into a white glow, and when those first rays hit — I can’t describe it as anything other than life. A serene awakening of the cells in my skin.

dancing-veils-of-mist

sombre-farm-building-in-misty-sunrise

When I sat down to work on this post I intended to publish it by lunch time. It is now past midnight and with the fewer hours sleep I have been getting this past week again, I feel it has gotten to such a point I lose track of time and the trails of my thoughts. So if I seem disjointed or if anything sounds odd, that is why. Haha But I want so badly to share this morning with you that I have returned to these slow-filling lines in spite of my brain constantly begging for a shut-down.

Also, there is something else I have been wanting to tell you about, something I am so excited about. A dream I have carried deep down for the longest time, and recently I grabbed onto it with both hands. But I do want to practice that one-step-at-a-time thing. For the sake of my scatter-brain, too, I know it is easier to focus on getting one thing done before starting another if I want to succeed. And still I want so much, so many things, at the same time and try to do them. I can’t imagine how this must sound, but I will just let it be so. Creativity and inspiration that has been sleeping for so long seems to have an erratic effect on me when it awakens.

farm-building-in-misty-glow

I want to wish you a wonderful week ahead. Good night, and see you soon!

Much love. ❤

When Words Hurt

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t overly sensitive to what others say. At times it has felt like that were even more true when others were the subject of criticism, but I later on realised that when I am on the receiving end, I bite down hard and try to pretend it doesn’t touch me. When in fact it cuts to the bone. I just take some time to react. Do you know what I mean? Like I don’t want to face it, or that I try to tell myself it doesn’t mean something is wrong with me — it is just this other person’s opinion of me or of what I do… or don’t do.

thoughtful-in-the-field

So many times in the past when I have found out an opinion about me that made me feel inadequate or that I wasn’t doing all that I should or not doing it well enough, I set it upon myself to do better. So much more than I had to. And it always resulted in abandoning my own dreams.

Some of us, it seems, are able to receive criticism and harsh words and they just roll off like water droplets on feathers. Whereas others, like myself, take them to heart and then try to do everything in our power to gain approval and praise. I should say, I used to.

holding-on-and-letting-go

After my breakdown back in 2014 — quitting my education, going down in hours at work, taking out sick-leave, only to resign and move to Sweden — I had had enough of being weak, being easily influenced, having no sense of self. I simply couldn’t handle even a regular day with regular moods. If I saw no smiles, if the tone of someone’s voice was anything other than light or even happy, I would break on the inside and take it as a personal failure. My entire purpose in life was to make sure everyone around me were content, and if they weren’t, it was my fault. I had to do better. I had to do more.

After years living like a bright flame on a candle, I burned down until there was nothing left to draw from.

But then I started working on it. I wanted to be strong and independent. To live a stable life in which words and criticism, others’ moods or bad days that are such a natural part of life wouldn’t unhinge me.

During this time, I came to understand I had, in fact, been strong. Incredibly much so. So much more stronger than I had to be. Over the years I had built up thick steel walls around myself and tamped down hard on those parts of me that had received so much criticism, weren’t appreciated or were misunderstood. But it was hard work, because I have also been surrounded by empathetic and understanding people. This resulted in a lot of switching back and forth. Walking around like a human mood and emotion barometer to get a reading. How do I act around this person? It was exhausting. Sometimes — and especially in my mid-to-later twenties — I couldn’t tell how I needed to be which caused so much confusion and ambivalence. I would start asking. What can I do? What do you need? Just tell me what I need to do.

letting-it-go-now

That a lifetime of this would go away in a couple of years isn’t something I have had any illusions of. I have consciously told myself it will take time and that I must let it. To force a behaviour that doesn’t come spontaneously is what nearly broke me, and the same goes for getting myself to where I want to be. Where I feel I am meant to be. For myself. Within myself. From the core.

So when I heard today that someone thought I should get a real job, those old, well-used cogs from decades of habitual use began to turn. I’ll start looking for a job. I’ll do whatever it takes. I know I can and I will just have to make it work. Somehow I will. I felt the shut-down. It took over my entire body. Like cold, liquid iron crawling over me and through me to protect me from those feelings of inadequacy. But that mechanism failed somehow and I felt so awful. Like all my emotions and my entire past came flooding over me. Yet I was oddly composed. I told Jay when we got back from Rauma, I am going outside to catch this light before the sun sets completely.

sleeping-fields

Instead of breaking on the inside, and instead of raving and justifying myself as I have in the past, my mind took me to these harvested fields and I had clung to that until we got back to our farm. Let it out. Express it. Let it go.

I used to be full of ideas once, and I couldn’t seem to even stop myself from letting that out in various ways. Some time before my breakdown, I lost all of it. I loved to draw, to craft, to write, to sing, to grab on to any creative outlet and just go for it. Until one day I couldn’t. I was empty. A hollow shell. Even if I felt so full of chaos I might crack open. Those times were my own personal Dark Ages. Music didn’t even move or uplift me as it once had.

Slowly — so very slowly — over the last two years, I have felt it returning. At times it has been like a wild thing crossing paths with a human out in the wilderness. It is curious, it wants to find out, but it isn’t entirely certain of this human. Is it dangerous? Is it a threat? But ever so carefully, it might come closer. And when it does, I get to feel and be that flaming passion to create. I love that. With all my heart and soul. Nothing else I have experienced this far in life leaves me so connected, so open and free as when I get to follow the ribbon of creativity.

watching-the-sky

As I lied there in the field, in-between running back and forth to my camera to press the shutter for another set of timed images (I haven’t gotten a new remote shutter yet), I looked up at the clouds. They were the deepest blue, fringed by illuminated light from the sun. The earth beneath me was cold and the air like chilled wings fluttering across the surface of my skin. I felt oddly warm though. A sense of peace came over me, and I forgot about what I had heard, didn’t get up to press the shutter — I stayed there, unmoving, and just watched the movements of the darks and light above me. I knew then that what had upset me so much to begin with is irrelevant. Words of others are theirs. It won’t change me just as I wouldn’t ever go out of my way again to try and change their opinion. It is entirely and fully outside of myself. Just a passing thing of no substance.

It isn’t what others say that matters, it’s what we do, isn’t it? Words are words and so flighty. They may hurt, but all I can do is to continue this path I have chosen. I know it will be difficult for some to see what I see — especially since this kind of work I do isn’t the traditional nine-to-five and doesn’t produce numbers in a bank account yet. Once it bears fruit that can be seen and touched, it will be accepted, I know that, but I can’t chase those results nor do I want to. I would frighten that beautiful and wild thing out into the wilderness again.

But I also know that what I do is good enough, you know? I cannot shake the sense I am on the right path. It is just a matter of time and I have to and want to be in the now to take it in. I will achieve what I have set out to do, but only if I nurture the connection to that which allows me to create. Belief. Trust. In myself and what I do.

running-in-the-fields

It is now Monday, and another week of opportunities has begun. I wish and hope with all my heart that you, too, dear friends and fellow folk believe in yourselves. Trust in that inner voice, even if it is just a whisper. Even whispers gain strength when moving closer.

Have a wonderful week. Much love. ❤

Touched By Art

Hello, everyone! Even though I have joined the weekly photo challenge it feels like forever since I actually blogged. There have been times when I have wanted so badly to reconnect but not only have we had so much to do–the attic project, other cleaning and clearing-out projects around the house, preparing for harvest, among much else–I just couldn’t get the words out. I sat down a few times but nothing happened.

Today, however, I am going to share a little frame project with you that I have been wanting to show you ever since I got the painting that inspired me to do the frame in the first place.

RamvikCape

I told you that I went to an art exhibition when I was in Sweden for a holiday with Lilli, but I was too excited and emotional about it still that I couldn’t get the words together to tell you about it. I can’t tell you how silly I felt when I left Junsele that day. Ever since I heard about the exhibition I knew I would make sure Lilli and I could go there. I haven’t followed Jonna Jinton’s journey right from the beginning, when she left her apartment in Gothenburg and moved all by herself to the small village of Grundtjärn in northern Sweden some seven years ago, but her blog and her art–photography, painting, the haunting tunes she produces by practicing the ancient herding call–touches my very soul. So naturally I had so many questions, things I wanted to say, but once there I couldn’t get the words out. Does that qualify as fangirl problems? I think I even forgot to sign my name in the guestbook under my message.

All that said, it was a wonderful day, and I may have forgotten half the things we did talk about, but she is ever as bit real and genuine as she is in her blog. A truly amazing human being. And I am so happy both Lilli, my brother, and I got to meet her and her partner. I certainly hope there will be more opportunities, especially since my daughter has become so very much inspired by Jonna. More about that later.

Driftwood

I remember when I was much younger and used to go down to the river with my mother to collect rocks and driftwood. My mother would paint on some of the pieces, and others were ready artworks already. Gnarled and twisted, bleached and mystical. I just love driftwood. So when I came back to Ramvik with the painting I bought at the exhibition, I knew instantly what kind of frame I wanted for it.

AbandonedBoat
This old boat has been sitting there for so long I can’t even remember it not being there.

I already had some driftwood I collected during the two years I studied in Sweden, but Lilli and I took a walk down to the cape and collected some more to bring back home to Finland. So I now have an entire IKEA-bag full–and then some.

Driftwood, however, can be very fragile, so I needed to build a frame to which I could attach the driftwood pieces. I wanted to get started as soon as we came home, but things kept getting in the way. I did document some of the steps, though, when I managed to squeeze in some time for it.

OldSaw

CuttingCorners

AllPiecesDone
I got the measurements a little wrong, and didn’t realise until I was ready to glue and nail it together.

We have so much wood here that it wasn’t difficult to find material. The saw is vintage and the blade was so dull, but I managed. And it was easy enough to adjust to get the right angles. I will be getting a new blade for it for future projects because it really is so handy.

MasoniteTriangles

WoodglueAndNails

One day I went into Rauma to K-Rauta and bought some nails, wood glue, and I had some paint since earlier. I have another project with those wooden logs I wrote about in an earlier post. You can read a little about that here. The details of that project I am still leaving for a later post–it has evolved since the initial idea–even if I am dying to tell you about it.

FinishedFrame

 

FrameDetails

Working with wood is something I truly love. There is something peaceful yet energising about it. Everything from picking out the pieces to sawing and sanding. I easily lose myself in it and I love that feeling. My mind goes quiet and I just exist in the moment. It’s like I become all my senses, and all those complicated thoughts that I tend to trip and stumble over disappear. I guess it is the same with drawing and photography, but getting to work with my hands the way I do when I handle wood is something deeper, more soulful.

CozyCorner

IMG_1305
Can you believe this is what it looked like earlier this year? This room is called tupa in Finnish, which is the first room you enter in the house–after the foyer. It is now our new living room.

Harvesting season has just begun and it usually takes a couple of weeks, but after that I really hope to get some more time for my own projects. And to be able to finish the goals I set earlier this year for the house. Clearing out boxes and piles of things that have been left over the last couple of years. Plain junk or valuable memorabilia from past generations–it doesn’t matter. When it is piled up in stacks all around the house it leaves this chaotic energy that sucks me in and I have such a hard time getting past it. At times it seems to be at a standstill–nothing happens, housework piles up, Loke’s hairs gather in the corners and follow our socks and clothes onto every surface in this entire house. It drives me mad sometimes, and I can get so grumpy, but I try to tell myself I’ll get there. To look at what I have accomplished (like with the living room, for example). All it takes is a little every day. One step at a time, right?

Lastly, I want to share another painting we got, also by Jonna, and the story behind it is quite amazing. In an affiliation with Samsung, Jonna painted this, and Lilli saw the video she made while working on the painting. She was both horrified and mesmerised when Jonna started painting outside the canvas–on the wall. You can find her video here.

JonnaJintonArt

JonnaJintonStyles

And so Lilli wanted to paint her own galaxy. I watched as she dripped paint and smudged it, just like Jonna, and while I don’t have a photo of that handy right now, the result was sent in to an art school in Rauma. This morning we got the message that Lilli is accepted and starts next week on Tuesday. It is only one day a week, but Lilli loves drawing and painting and I am ever so grateful and thankful for the way art touches us. All of us.

And I am also so thankful you are still here, and for the newcomers as well. I hope to get back to updating more regularly soon, but until then, I have found Instagram Stories to be a lot of fun and easy to manage, and I share a couple of photos a day on my account, so if you are curious about what goes on and my updates on the blog are sparse, head on over. Link is here, or just click the Instagram icon or any of the photos at the bottom of my blog.

I wish you a lovely weekend. Much love and hugs to you. ❤

Setting The Inner Fire Free

Building bridges and connecting with my peers is something I as a child spared no thought on as how-to or even that it was a concept to ponder. I lived very much in my own world, and at least before I got into my later teens, I was quite content with having that one friend. Later on, before understanding myself, I went through some frustrating and confusing experiences in meeting and connecting with others. Today, I am at a point in my life where I am grateful for all these different relationships–both good and bad. They have taught me to understand myself and others better, and have lead me to accept that I am still happy with only a few friends.

SunriseDewyCereals

With that said, I do like to socialise. I really love meeting and connecting with others and joining conversations. Very often, however, I find myself so engrossed in just listening to what everyone has to say that I forget to actively partake. While I suspect I at times come across as the silent one of few words or suddenly a lot of words, only to sit back and be quiet again, it has never been for the lack of interest or that I haven’t been present. All the things I hear, I take them in and then I ponder (except for when several people speak on top of each other and my brain automatically switches to a place far, far away). So sometimes by the time I have gathered what to say, the conversation usually has moved on.

The same goes for being asked questions–I like to have some time with it before I can connect it in my mind and offer a reply. When I feel a prompt answer is needed, especially to questions I haven’t been asked before, I might end up agonising over the things I say. They fly out of my head and I think that is not how I truly feel, that is not what I really wanted to say. This was something I truly despised about school when I was younger, constantly wishing don’t pick me, don’t pick me as the teacher’s eye wandered across the heads in class. And when I did get picked, I had spent all that time wishing myself away instead of thinking of an answer.

SunriseDewyFields

This comes close to how much I used to worry about saying the wrong thing and guarding every word. This isn’t that. But I think they are linked. I wonder if maybe it triggered what later became a fear of being misconstrued. As a teenager, for example, it didn’t occur to me to worry about organising my words before they came out. I just went along with it and “edited” as I spoke. Which sometimes resulted in a lot of strange conversations and lengthy explanations that perhaps made no sense, or were too complex. Small talk, for instance, is something I have had to practice for years to avoid simple “So how’s things?” becoming a recollection of my entire past week. Now remember, Lotta, this is a polite small talk thing to say, you are not required to bare your soul. I am still not entirely sure always how to tell apart the sincere queries and the polite ones.

This is where this bridge comes in–my way of connecting back with others. My ping-back. Through blogging and through photography I get to truly share my innermost self. I get the time I need to slow down, gather and connect all that spins ’round and ’round in my head, and deliver it when I am in harmony with it. I get to sit with the words of others and the words of myself and let them get acquainted.

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When I started blogging, I had to just go for it. I knew how this thinking process of mine tends to become a labyrinth I get lost in. So blogging is also a way for me to find a balance, to connect back to myself after all these years of second-guessing every single little detail. To share thoughts and photographs a part of me feels are nothing special, not entirely me just yet, gives it substance for me to work with. I hold myself accountable. Through blogging I am every day reminding myself of what I have learned so far, what I still need to work on, and that whatever the outcome I am one step further than yesterday.

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So that is why most of these photos are images I have at one point shared already, only they are different. They evolve just as I do and my photography does, thanks to joining online communities and breaking the silence on social media. By reaching out at my own pace, yet trying to take that extra step continuously and challenging myself, I am in turn inspired by all the people around me. I learn things, pick up on tips and tricks, and I secure one more stone in this bridge I am building to reach my goals.

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Without others, without you or any of those I will come into contact with in the future, these visions and dreams of mine would have remained a hazy and abstract canvas in the back of my mind. A thought I would have pondered until I realised all the opportunities had passed me by.

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And the most wonderful thing with both photography and drawing is that I do not need to organise this brain of mine. To get to the place I want to shoot, yes, somtimes. And to start that drawing, definitely. But once I begin my head becomes quiet and peaceful. Those innermost feelings and perceptions that may be too complex to put into words can be shaped with brush and pen strokes, light and shadow, colours and tones.

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So even if I am content on my own, and with sporadic and spontaneous meetings with my closest friends, I wouldn’t be able to live this journey fully toward my biggest dreams without forging connections. Without these mediums of blogging, Instagram, and other platforms, through which I reach out to people, my art and my photography would have remained a whimsical hobby of mine hidden away in drawing pads and folders on my computer. And I may have only just left the starting line, I may not have a gallery or a web shop yet, but I don’t see it as a hopeless wish anymore, nor do I feel silly for setting that wish free. I know that the only way I can fail is if I stop reaching out, stop trying to connect.

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Thank you each and every one of you, from the bottom of my heart, for whichever part you have in this bridge of mine. Lastly, I want to leave you with one of my all-time favourite quotes.

I wish you all a wonderful day. ❤

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
Albert Schweitzer