An Easter Greeting

Good morning my dear readers. It’s Good Friday and the rest of the house is quiet apart from our freezer humming in the room next to me, and there is a subtle whoosh of water going through the radiators. I just settled in in front of my screen with a mocha coffee. For Christmas last year Jay and I got one of those one-cup coffee machines for ourselves, and ever since I have been almost addicted to using a shot of dark chocolate in my first cup of coffee every day. I have consciously been trying to reduce my caffeine intake, though, especially at night. Some days it works, some days not so well. I read that if you have trouble with your thyroid, caffeine is not good. A couple of regular sized cups a day is all right, but on average I drink way more than that so I thought I would try to cut down, at least until I know whether or not an underactive thyroid is what is causing my tiredness and anemia.

Before I write anything else I really want to say thank you all for the so, so lovely comments on my last post. I know I might be silly thinking this way, but somehow I always end up feeling that with having become so inactive on my blog, and taking forever to reply to comments, I somehow don’t deserve anyone’s attention. I have made friends over the years with whom I have lost contact because I am so terrible at keeping in touch. It’s hard to explain to someone I know why I get like that — it never has anything to do with that I don’t care for them or don’t value their friendship. After a while I feel so incredibly dumb for declining invites over and over, and somehow trying to explain why leaves me feeling like I fraud. I want to get better at this, though, because I do understand silence and avoidance only leaves the other person wondering and questioning if they are at fault. This happened just recently and it gave me a thorough shake and a kind of eye-opener. Any state of depression or exhaustion is a lonely place; I like to have my own space but this loneliness is so very different than choosing retreat when I just need to refuel. Instead of consciously craving to be alone I want closeness but can’t reach out. It’s like becoming trapped in my own misery. I drown in it. The shame takes over and makes that distance all the more difficult to cross. Can you recognise the feeling?

in-my-walking-clothes

To write down how I feel, and to try and paint a picture of what it’s like on the inside is somehow so much easier when I write a blog post. I really wonder why that is. Of course, the language is one factor — I may be able to speak Finnish well, and I have heard so many times how good I am at speaking the language, but it’s only in general conversation. I have no idea what words to use or how to converse about emotional topics in Finnish. Several years ago when I went to therapy, I got to speak with a therapist who knew Swedish. When that wasn’t an option I switched to English when I couldn’t express myself in Finnish. I have actually thought about this a lot lately, that maybe one side to how I am feeling is that I am a foreigner. I may have lived in Finland on and off for ten years now, but I can still feel totally alien. It is definitely my own fault — I have isolated myself out here on the farm and haven’t actively worked to seek a social life outside the family.

I could write so much more on this, but what I wanted (before I got carried away) was to show you that pot I painted, and to share some photos from the past week, and some from before that. The sun is getting warmer every day now and the snow is melting. I can’t tell you how absolutely divine it is to stand outside on the warmer days. Spring really is staking a claim on the earth now, and even though I have been outside so little this year, I still have many photos I haven’t shared with you yet. But first — the pot!

finished-result-of-painted-pot

close-up-of-painted-pot

I really am so happy with the results. I had many ideas on how to paint this pot, but after layering the colours I was so pleased with the texture I didn’t want to do anything else to it. It also reminded me of how much I really love working with my hands, and it has motivated me even further to fight this mind fog so I can do more. For example I have a big IKEA bag full of drift wood I brought with me to Finland last year (and even more in the garage, some up against a wall next to the office, and more in a cardboard box, haha) with which I had many plans and ideas. Some of you might remember the frame I made out of drift wood for a painting last year.

That the light (or lack thereof) can do so much to a person is something which fascinates me and leaves me in a sense of wonder. Some weeks back I sat and went through some photos. I had just come back inside from a walk around the old buildings here on the farm. It was just above zero but the snow dwindled silently and the wet flakes left me with a chill, so I didn’t linger too long. As I sat with these photos I noticed that instead of snow covering the evergreens, there were water droplets everywhere. A mixture of relief and giddiness surged through me and I almost started crying.

 

water-droplets-on-the-spruce-needles

retro-tones-and-dew

Since then we have had some really cold days, with temperatures of ten below zero or more, and others much warmer. One day we had six above. This time is almost holy to me. These fluctuations mark the end of winter and beginning of spring and it’s like every cell in my body comes alive to respond to it. At times it catches me off guard and I become so overwhelmed by the sensation tears fill my eyes. Do you experience similar things? Or is there something in particular that signifies end of winter or beginning of spring for you?

catkins

Another symbol of spring for me are the catkins. I noticed the first ones on a very cold day several weeks ago, and I was so surprised to see them there in a landscape still embedded in snow and wintry shimmer. That day was so magical, though, and I stayed outside longer than my hands could handle. The warmth of the sun on my face had me entranced. The song of birds created the most beautiful symphony mixed up with Loke’s and my own slow, crispy steps across glittering fields.

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me-soaking-up-the-sunlight

I am actually wearing my PJ pants in this photo above, haha. They have been the most comfy pants but I had to brave the shops and hunt down a new pair since the fabric has gotten so so thin. I suppose it doesn’t matter when only Jay, Lilli and Loke are around, but sometimes our kitchen or dining room becomes an office or conference area when there are meetings related to the farming business. I usually make myself scarce at those times, but I still imagine it looks odd for someone to walk around in PJ’s in the middle of the day. 😉 Especially extremely worn PJ’s. Haha

One evening when the sun stood low, I looked out toward the trees where our road leads off the farm. The most amazing light painted the tree trunks and branches in an almost fiery pink/red, and I rushed through the house to gather my camera and tripod. When I got outside, I switched direction and went for our lower fields instead, distracted by the colour in the sky. Ever since I have wanted to show you this ethereal sunset. By the time I was satisfied I had enough photos of it, the sun had dropped lower and the light was gone from the trees.

sunset-over-snowy-fields

Can you see the reflections on the snow? I was in complete awe as I stood there. It was cold but the sun still set rather quickly then, so I managed to get back inside before my fingers froze. It’s incredible how fast that changes now — how the sun’s descent slows down and graces us with these gorgeous colours for longer and longer with each day passing. I was here about a week before this photo was taken to capture the subtle grace of this late winter light. Then I found an icy wonderland behind our storage building and crept around with my tripod in the bushes to get some closeups until my hands were on fire with the cold.

icy-wonderland

icicle-magic-in-sunset

molten-ice

It was after these photos I was in so much pain I didn’t know what to do with myself. Regardless, I have to say they were worth it. With time it seems most pains subside, no matter how deeply they cut in the present, and it is in that transition I think it becomes easier to look beyond and see that even when we have been at our worst, when the nights were so dark, light was there. It kept us company. We were not alone — we never are truly alone.

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Our house is waking up now, but before I leave I would like to wish you all a beautiful Easter, and show you a couple of photos of the flowers I bought. Getting those plants just made me want even more! 😀

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daffodils

me-and-lily-of-the-valley
Lily of the Valley might be my absolute favourite flower

Once again, thank you all so much for the inspiration you truly give me. I am also so happy and grateful for the feedback you gave me after my request in my last post, and I have already taken some photos to share together with the story of my tattoo, so that might be up next! I would also like to take this opportunity to say that if you ever think of something you would like me to write about or to photograph don’t be shy to let me know. I will try to honour most requests. ❀

Much love, hugs and a happy Easter weekend!

my-tattoo
“Strength, Courage, Wisdom” ❀
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Daring To Meet Myself Just As I Am

Hello dear ones. I don’t even know how to begin telling you about the past couple of weeks, or how many times I started writing a blog post only to leave it sitting in my draft folder. But I do know why I left it there, and it took me until yesterday to admit it to myself. So now I’m writing a new one — one that I just know beforehand will be long. I hope you will bear with me.

a-box-of-opportunities

I’m trying to remember exactly when the delivery man dropped these boxes off at our door, but the past few weeks have been so full of ups and downs that I can’t remember. What I do remember is that when my hairdresser and new-found friend told me about Mary Kay I was sitting in the salon she works in to get my hair done. Over a month ago now. And not too long after that I signed a contract to become an independent skin care consultant. If you haven’t heard of Mary Kay, I’ll just explain in short. The company was created back in the 1960’s by a woman of the same name, who wanted to give women the opportunity to follow their dreams, have a career and the freedom to shape their life in whichever way they desired. Today this company spans continents and the women who have joined and still join have amazing success stories behind them.

What spoke to me right from the start was that freedom. That and the incredible warmth, compassion, enthusiasm and friendliness of every single woman I met during these past couple of weeks. To be surrounded by positive people who genuinely want nothing but to help you and see you succeed is so amazing, and just what I have craved and missed since I finished my studies in Sweden almost one year ago now.

getting-my-consultant-pin

mary-kay-event

I was so blessed to join them now. I got to go to a local area meeting to meet a few ladies, get some coaching and see how a skin care class is conducted, and one week later I went with them to an event at the Helsinki airport. The atmosphere was wonderful and the women who held their speeches inspired me so much. I can’t put into words how thankful I am I was given the opportunity to meet them all — it came into my life like a beam of glorious light at a time when I needed it the most. So when I tell you now that in spite of all this I was haunted by immense stress and anxiety on and off since I signed that contract, you might wonder why.

swedish-archipelago-from-cruise-ship

summer-cottages-in-archipelago

First, I spent the last twenty-four hours on this cruise ship that runs between Turku, Finland, and Stockholm in Sweden. I have this very bad habit of using snus. It’s a pouch of tobacco used under the lip. I used to smoke, but quit almost three years ago now. Knowing addiction all too well, I shouldn’t have started using snus, but there you have it. It’s a Swedish product and not allowed by law to be sold in Finland. You are allowed to bring in 1000 grams for personal use, however, so every once in a while I take a cruise to re-stock my supplies. I know that once I put my mind to it, I will quit this, too, but for now I am another willing slave under an addiction. The things we do regardless of knowing it’s bad for us.

light-garlands-on-cruise-ship

One of the things I like about these cruises is the time I get to reflect. I mean, there isn’t anywhere to go or much else to do. Of course, for those who like shopping, there is the tax-free shop. Or if you like to have a drink and listen to live music, there is a place for that, too. There is also karaoke, bingo, restaurants, kids’ play grounds, saunas, spas and even a swimming pool. I always end up sitting in the cafeteria by these windows, with a coffee and my journal. I love watching as we pass through the Swedish archipelago. The most amazing houses dot the shores, and the view really is beautiful.

I wrote several pages during this trip. To be honest, before a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t kept my journal regularly since end of summer. But after I signed that contract I have been writing almost every day. Mostly to convince myself I was on the right track. Positive self-coaching and self-motivation. For every dip and moment of anxiety, for every time I started panicking, I opened up my journal and wrote myself through it. It has worked, sort of, but as I sat with my journal yesterday, the ship gently swaying beneath me, I couldn’t do it anymore. And on my way home, driving slowly through a frozen night, I listened to beautiful cello music and cried almost the entire way. My pulse was so hard and loud when I came in the door to tell Jay we had to talk. My darling man who sponsored me to get the start-up kit for this entire thing. For the longest time I couldn’t get a word past the lump in my throat. While I knew with every fiber in my body that what I was about to tell him was right — what my gut had been trying to tell me for weeks while I stubbornly ignored it — a storm of conflicting thoughts raged inside me. I’m such a failure. I’ll disappoint everyone. I just wasted so much money, and for what? How did I get here after all this time? Why don’t I ever learn?

I told Jay what I will tell you now: I can’t do this — be a skin care consultant — because I don’t want to be. I said yes because I miss and crave friendship and social interaction. People to spend time with, to share common interests and be enthusiastic with. To think that I a few years ago received the diagnose Social Phobia. And here I was, throwing myself into something I really don’t want to do just so I can be around other people.

Jay sat quietly for a while after my word-vomit confession, and my heart seemed to flutter around in every part of my body. Then he said well, these things happen. You have to try things to find out what is right for you and you did try. Remember I told you not to worry about the money. It’s just money and it’s all right. As I write this, I’m in tears all over again. I can’t tell you what a wonderful man I have, what it means to me to have his support while I stumble around and flail about when I lose my way. In the midst of chaos and tumultuous emotion, he is my steady harbour.

close-up-of-jays-hand

From these past few weeks there is so much to take with me. From this I can learn and grow. And as much as I fought with those thoughts that tried to tell me I was a coward, weak and a failure, I believe there is much more strength in telling the truth no matter what. And much courage in speaking up. Some years ago I would have soldiered on to the beat of the drum of imagined expectations. What will others think of me? What will make others happy? To succeed for the sake of assumptions of what others would see as success. Isn’t it incredible the lengths we can go to, the lies we will tell ourselves to satisfy an imaginary world built on low self-esteem and self-worth?

I remember something one of these inspiring women spoke about at that event this past Saturday. Something that truly hit me, something I haven’t been able to let go of. And what nudged the part of me that tried to wake me up to myself. She talked about self-esteem and self-worth. Have the courage to dare to meet yourself. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are good enough, just the way you are. In spite of what you do or how well you perform.

I fully believe there are two kinds of roads in this life, too, that we are meant to walk on. That main road which will take us to where we want to go, and those side roads we wander down to get perspective on where we are headed. As this woman who spoke about self-esteem also said, but do not linger too long, find someone you trust to help you back onto that main road. And you know what? When I spoke with with my friend about my decision over the phone, she told me to remove the thought from my mind that I have to hold these skin care classes. No one expects this of me. I decide what I want to do and how much, and I will be welcome among them no matter what. Can you imagine it? I felt like whatever remaining knots and bundles of stress and tension left in me whooshed out. Isn’t that just so wonderful? She is such a warm soul.

So it is with deep conviction I believe I was meant to do this. To gain a different perspective and clarity. To understand better how very important it is to me to meet other people — accepting, supportive, compassionate people — to make friends and to connect. And to dare to meet myself, just the way I am. Every single day. To tell my reflection that I am good enough, just like this. Even with the chaos and turmoil. I have spoked a lot of chaotic emotions, but I feel that for every time we face something difficult we learn to accept it that little bit more.

illuminated-frosty-tall-grass

frosted-foliage-clinging-to-a-log

sunlight-filtered-through-frosty-tree-tops

Oh, this day was so beautiful. The glimmer across our fields today after the night left a thin blanket of snow in its wake — this I will return to, over and over. These photos were taken over a week ago, but it’s just as sweet and fills me with peace and thankfulness after having seen it a thousand times. Filtering rays of soft light through branches dressed in rime. The creak beneath my shoes as I walk across the frozen lawn. A cloud of breath dancing alongside my dog when he runs back and forth in joy, trying to catch a snow ball Jay or Lilli throws at him.

sunlight-through-a-frosty-leaf

frosty-curled-bark

frost-covered-moss-wonderland

The small wonders of autumn’s remnants — golden colours scattered across the earth now as we pass into winter. I barely lifted my camera in these past few weeks. Only a few strewn occasions, and what a challenge it was to make myself. But when I did I felt such peace of mind, and I am so happy to finally share it with you.

frozen-fireweed-in-farm-house-foreground

morning-lit-moon-through-blurred-branches

backlit-frosty-berries

artful-frost-lines-in-wooden-logs

a-layer-of-frost

Soon I am going to start the Christmas season craftiness with Lilli. For years now I have wanted to make our own Christmas cards to send out and this year, damn it, we will have our own-made cards. And a wreath to hang on the door. I already got the wire to tie the spruce branches together. When I was little, we used to do all kinds of crafting for the major holidays, and I always loved it when my mother brought out the paints and papers, or when we collected things from the forest to craft with. I want my daughter to have these memories, too. Do you have any seasonal decoration traditions?

I will now leave you with a couple of photos from Father’s Day and wish you all a wonderful evening of what is left of this Wednesday. I hope to see you again soon! Much love. ❀

father-of-the-day
Jay is so handsome in his suit. ❀
entre-snack
The food took so long to arrive but we had plenty of snacks and conversation to hold us. 🙂

Staying True To Yourself

Hello dearest friends and readers. I sat down last night to write a post but it took me long into the small hours of the morning, and in the end I went to bed close to tears. Not only because I was just tired, but because in spite of planning for an earlier bedtime, my tasks drag out for so much longer than they normally do. On top of that I am haunted by this impression I get nothing done, and all those photo and art/craft projects I planned have fallen completely to the sidelines.

huittistentie
The “big” road that goes toward Lappi town and Rauma.
the-farm-from-afar
Our farm as seen from where you turn off the big road and into the village.

the-road-home

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fields-and-forest-in-rohdainen

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road-close-to-home

I took these photos a couple of weeks ago and meant to post them to show you what our little village looks like. Since then, most of the leaves have fallen to the ground. Some trees hang on to them stubbornly, still, but those birches in the last photos are now completely bare.

flooded-field-in-sunlight

We have also had so much rain coming down that the creek next to the fields below the house has flooded. After clearing the meadow I showed you some photos from in a previous post, some of the hay and weed piles remained in the meadow. With all that rain, those piles ended up partially in water and it was so much work to go down there the other day to get it onto a trailer. I walked through water halfway up my boots to the river bank to move it closer to the tractor. Old Fergu (the 1960’s Massey Ferguson) would have gotten stuck if we had taken it into the flooded areas.

hay-on-a-trailer

Last week I took a few days break from Instagram to focus solely on painting our bedroom-to-be. I don’t know what is up with me this autumn — usually I am so full of energy and inspiration that I don’t even have to try. Instead I feel like I am moments away from losing my mind. So I put everything else on hold to be able to paint one room. As I write it, it looks so silly but the only way I get things done right now is to grab onto whatever motivation hits me as it comes. Not a moment later, or I lose it. So that is one of the main reasons I haven’t updated. I didn’t even take any photos of the progress because my singular mantra was paint paint paint. Get it done.

a-forest-road

Of course, now it has come to a stand-still again. I was missing some things to fix the wooden panelling around the closets, and then I waited to go into town. Even knowing I would lose my momentum. I can’t put into words how frustrated I am with myself right now, haha. If I don’t laugh at it the frustration would turn into annoyance and I would end up in tears — which can help. Do you ever find that after having cried, all that which was bundled up inside you disappeared with the tears?

a-forest-bird
This bird ran around in the forest next to one of our fields, burrowing down into sand and dirt, only to run along again and disappear. I have no idea what bird it is — do you?

So much is coloured by the strange grip melancholy has on me lately, but sometimes it is like that, isn’t it? In spite of our best efforts, in spite of maybe having had a really productive and energetic period, these lows arrive when nothing works. Not even photography. Either I haven’t felt like it, or I have forced myself outside only to come home and be overwhelmed by disappointment. More so than usual. Which I know is because of my mood.

rowan-berries

But I love taking photos after rain. All that dew covering the world outside wraps nature in a mystical mantle and I feel like I enter another realm. The sun may peek from behind steely clouds, but the light is mellow. Sombre. Captivating. In tune with my soul, which I sometimes think is toned in blue. As the days grow shorter I sense a change within me, but it also brings the challenge of keeping balance. A challenge in which I seem to have lost the upper hand. Instead of becoming immersed in a world of ideas and projects, I have this autumn slipped right through a rabbit hole to find myself all but apathetic. With only sporadic yet sudden and unpredictable onslaughts of motivation.

So despite my adoration for sombreness, I didn’t like any of the photos I took in the past week and almost deleted them completely. At least I managed to shake myself enough to say you will get past this, be spontaneous but not rash, be impulsive but responsibly.

birch-leaves-whirling

Chaos. That is what I have felt a touch of in the past week. Thoughts flit from one thing to another — a million and one things can go through my head in one day yet by the time I go to bed I remember none of it. Only that I had so many things to do and not even a fraction got done.

aspen-trunks
Aspen trees are my absolutely favourite trees. I just love them so much.
aspen-leaves-and-branches
And the rustling sound of these leaves in the wind is unlike any other.

So last night I battled with myself whether to write or not. Even though I want to share my journey in all its colours and shades, I can’t help but ask where to drawn the line. Is there a limit?

wind-blown-web-threads

During those days, when I hardly looked at my feed on Instagram, didn’t sit down to edit photos nor did anything with my photography or my artistry, I wondered about trying to find a job to earn money. The thought made me ill. I have never and doubt I ever could be motivated by money. Even if that money would allow me to get new camera equipment so I could stop stressing about my current camera not being capable of certain things, or the fact that the best lens I use right now isn’t even my own. Not even that trumps the lump in my stomach I got at the thought of going into a workplace to do my nine-to-five. I have done it and every single time I end up having a mental breakdown.

I mentioned these thoughts out loud the other day to someone, and I instantly felt that familiar outsider sensation. Like there is something wrong with me. Why can’t I be like others and just go to work? I managed to squash it quickly, but in that brief moment I wished my words back and felt so incredibly small. Insignificant. Inadequate. Just a failure. In spite of the person passing no judgment and offering only encouragement.

rowan-berries-in-water-puddle

The thing is, if I do not have the freedom to change my position or my surroundings when I know I need to, I feel trapped and can’t function. I am that sensitive and I can’t seem to do anything about it. I spent years and so much effort trying to fit into the traditional work place and I still suffer from how deeply it disrupted my own sense of self. When I have to fight to be myself on a near daily basis — to me that is a strong enough reminder how capable we humans are to change. Even change that is not in tune with who we are. And it breaks my heart when I think and wonder about how many of us force ourselves into careers and jobs to secure a pension for when we get old enough to retire. That we would have go through half a lifetime (and more) and many times not even then be able to do the things we really want.

I am fortunate, though. Truly blessed. I have a partner who doesn’t mind me not going to work — and we can live on his income. It worries me all the same. That I am not doing my part, even if I know he doesn’t think like that. In spite of having reminded me time and again that it really is all right, these thoughts and the accompanying sense of inadequacy wells up inside me when I think of how I contribute nothing toward paying the bills. I can’t put money into my daughter’s fund. On top of it all, I have a loan from my studies in Sweden which I am supposed to begin paying back next year.

When I came back home before Christmas last year, my entire being was convinced I would figure it out within a year. That I would by the end of 2017 be in a position to at least start paying off my loan. Yet here I am, with a little over two months left of the year, and the reality is close to suffocating. In spite of all this, I also know I won’t give up. Isn’t it strange? I still believe it will work out in the midst of my doubts and the odds seemingly stacked against me. That belief is the one thing that keeps me above the surface, the one light that I aim at the shadows when they begin to drag me below. I can’t explain it, nor do I understand it. But I will hold on to it all the same and continue. I have given up too much in my life to do so again. And it has been at these exact times, when all has felt impossible, that I have dropped everything and run away.

Not again. Never again.

If chaos is what I am right now, then so be it. I have my family, I live on a beautiful farm, I can walk out the door and be embraced by nature. I have you. And even if I am disappointed in my camera, I can still capture the journey with it in the best way I know how.

I will leave you with the last two verses of a poem I read a couple of years ago. The Guy in the Glass by Dale Wimbrow. I hope your week has gone well and I wish you a lovely weekend ahead. Much love. ❀

You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.

 

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 SammallahdenmĂ€ki 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 SammallahdenmĂ€ki (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. ❀

 

 

Lost And Found Within

Earlier this week I went for a drive into the forests around Lappi town again. My time was limited, and my body ached with weariness from the flu that finally had broken out. I knew it was coming since I had felt so incredibly exhausted without being able to really figure out why. In spite of that, I pulled on a dress and wrapped myself in a coat and my newly finished scarf before heading out.

When I started this post I meant only to show you some photos from that walk through the forest, but it turned into something entirely different. With all these words having poured out of me now, I feel I had a wish to tell you more deeply of what nature and sharing my experiences with you means to me. So instead of backtracking, I worked with it and if you make it till the end, I hope you will have gotten to know a little more about me. ❀

a-forest-road

I remember how I for such a long time worked so hard to somehow blend into the background noise, while at the same time looking on and wishing I had whatever it was that was needed to become part of the crowd. Kind of like one of my brothers. He has this way of talking and being that makes people smile and laugh. Even if I don’t always think his sense of humour is so tasteful. Haha But whenever I was faced with an opportunity to blend in with others, I felt so clumsy and out of tune. Do you know what I mean?

I also remember one time when this sense of being out of step with the entire world, which is no uncommon feeling at the age of seventeen, completely overwhelmed me. I was in the US at the time, visiting a friend. I can’t remember what triggered it, but I took my diary with me into their backyard. Behind the house I could see the forest spread out before me. It was late autumn, the ground was covered in tones of yellow and brown, and I continued down the slope and walked straight into that forest.

into-the-spruces

After some time, I found a little stream and sat down beside it. I opened up my diary and started writing. In the end, I had written a poem, one I have many times over the years tried to find but it seems to be forever lost. I do remember the last line, though. Like the rivers our lives flow by, too many to care about them all.

I don’t know why that particular line has stayed in my head for soon twenty years. Nor do I know exactly what I meant by that at the moment I wrote it. Looking at it now, from where I am today, I think past-me tried her best to justify and rationalise that loneliness she felt. That one person cannot possibly do or be everything all at once. But even when we do, we cannot expect, either, that everyone will notice. Especially not if we are in hiding.

light-through-pines

The forest has always been a place I have run to when my heart has been heavy, and for the longest time I thought of it as an escape. A space for peace and quiet. A moment away from the unfathomable loneliness of being in a room full of people yet feeling utterly and completely alone. Among trees and woodland critters I could forget. I didn’t have to see what I perceived as stark differences between me and others. And there I could escape from expectations and struggles. I would stay until my head was quiet and my heart light once more.

dead-but-alive-in-autumn

Lately, I have thought a lot about what that call into the wild truly was about. What I in my younger years didn’t see. A deeper meaning. The forest and nature wasn’t and isn’t a place where I wander into oblivion to shed burdens and responsibilities. It is a realm of clarity. A place to remember. Out here, I find the pieces of myself I might lose in day to day life. I reconnect and am reminded of what is important and what isn’t. The air, the smells, the sounds — it is like opening a window to let the dust of irrelevance and skewed perspectives whirl themselves away.

autumn-soul

The immediate relief and effects of mother nature’s remedies are so poignant I wonder why instead of being prescribed pills for my depressions and anxieties on almost every first visit to doctors they didn’t tell me fly, little bird, out into the forest and stay as long as you need. Maybe not in those words, haha. But have you ever thought of it? Not all pills affect the central nervous system, but most of them have substances that affect the neurotransmitters in our brains. The very same which are affected when (among many others) we receive a hug, engage in physical activities — or take a long hike through nature.

birch-trunk-autumn-colour-blur

Spring is almost like autumn when it comes to the smells, but unlike the richness of earth mixing into a concoction of berries and mushrooms in autumn, the melting snow and ice carries a tinge of winter’s freshness on its winds. There is also something very special about the heat that lingers within the ground in autumn, a kind of summer warmth that still rises up through moss and the ever-growing layer of fallen leaves. I have this habit when I am out there. I close my eyes and breathe in deeply, and then I just focus on my senses. Especially the feel of the air going down into my lungs, the taste in my mouth and what I with my sense of smell can pick up on. I imagine this is how the animals, who have much better developed senses than we do, know when the seasons are changing, and when to move and where to go. Like birds taking flight when winter is on our doorstep, long before we know of its approach.

lingonberries

I feel we need to be out here. As well as evolution makes sure we adapt, that deepest part of us remains something from the realm of wilderness. All things available these days are enhanced and improved for our convenience, yet it seems to overload our senses and numb them. These are just my personal wonderings, but I cannot help but think that it makes sense we suffer so much from mental unwellness when we are constantly getting high on impressions — physical and mental. And then we need more and more and more to sustain ourselves. Until we crash.

roadside-mushrooms

I had this idea about a year ago, that I would one day build a wellness center right here on our lands, and do guided health walks and hikes in nature, near and far. Down by the river, I wanted to build a big logging cabin with large windows and a veranda that faced the ever-wilder-growing lake there, and every morning a yoga class would be held in dawn’s embrace. And I am so incredibly lucky I have friends and family that don’t look at me like I have lost my marbles, you know? But I could really see it. And why not? I am not against medicine — it has and does a lot of good in this world. I do however believe that antidepressants are thrown around far more than is needed, when I with all my heart and soul and head believe a good dose of nature will do the trick just as well.

spruce-cone-shimmer

 

I still feel remnants of that sense of displacement sometimes when I am among others. Far less than when I was younger. I think that maybe with time, I have come to accept it as is and to fight against it less and less. Most importantly, I believe, I keep reminding myself it isn’t something that places me apart, that it isn’t a sign of me being faulty, but rather it is just what makes me me. Do you know what I mean? And the more I let it be, the less I try to cover it up, hide it away, which in turn strengthens my sense of self and confidence when being in the company of other people. In particular when with people who are very different from me. They like different things, or the same things but other aspects of it and perceive the world around us in ways I don’t. Subsequently, I relax and am able to take in and be truly engaged with their views. I want to understand.

 

autumn-sea-of-evergreen-needles

 

In the last few years, with all the ups and down, nearly becoming literally empty but so full of chaos, and to finally begin to piece it back together again, I come to understand something more and more. Trying or even wishing to be someone I am not in order to fit in has been the very foundation of my unhappiness. Through squeezing myself into frames and folds of these expectations I imagined invited inevitable failure and misery from the very first day I embarked on a new endeavour to “correct” myself and be all those things I wasn’t.

 

Maybe I will one day found a wellness center here, or maybe I won’t. Either way I have this immense wish to share what I experience and for others in similar situations to find their way back to their innermost selves, to regain their very own balance and know peace. Happiness.

one-red-leaf

I used to think what do I know? I’m a mess and my life is a mess and I can’t even go to work without falling to pieces. What could someone who is so broken as I am offer those who at least manage these simple necessities in life? And I would also think that most likely I am only one among few who has these immense struggles to manage day to day tasks. I belong to the minority, I would tell myself. I did know others exist out there who face the same challenges and fall, but living among people who go to work even when they are sick, who keep clean, tidy homes and meals on the table, laundry baskets empty, beds made, get their kids to sports and events, manage to go out with their friends and still mow the lawn and rake leaves, plant flowers, do crosswords and read the morning paper…  I felt like one in a million. And not in a good way.

At night I would lie in bed as my thoughts screamed how do they all do it?! What is wrong with me?!! And the next morning I would get up and do all those things anyway. I would then go to work, be the best version of myself I could possibly be and smile and be as social as I could muster. Then I would come home and get that meal on the table, do that washing, and sit down by my desk at the end of the day to read through masses of texts in Finnish with a dictionary beside me so that I could get my education. I went through these motions, gave it all and then some for eighteen months straight until I felt a part of myself drift to the sidelines. I watched this woman forge ahead and wondered how she couldn’t tell she had nothing left. No energy, no passion, no joy and no feelings.

autumn-thoughts

Today, I think I needed to go through all that. I believe I had to truly hit that wall in the hardest most excruciating way possible to wake up. And I did. At first it seemed all of me came alive, and I got myself so lost. I stepped onto paths that lead me through things I am so unbelievably ashamed of but at the same time grateful for. And isn’t it funny how it is when we are as lost as can possibly be we finally find our way?

I used to be so frightened blind by speaking from the depths of my innermost self. And at times I find myself getting anxious about certain things I share, the words I write and leave here for anyone to see. At the same time, I feel such relief, and then I think and hope and wish that, maybe, those very words and experiences will reach and even inspire a thought with someone who needs them. Just as I have read and taken part in thoughts and experiences of others which have given me strength or hope in times when they have been needed the most.

On a wall in my favourite cafĂ© in Rauma are these words: If your dreams do not frighten you, they aren’t big enough. I chased beyond horizons and boundaries to find that big dream to lift me to heights of happiness and bliss, and I believed the answers were in some faraway distance I had yet to reach. All along, it never occurred to me to look within. But now when I have begun, and it sure can be frightening, I only gain more strength and resolve for every time I do something in spite of the fear it triggers.

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead, and that you make time for yourselves to visit whichever is your place to re-connect and regain balance when it wobbles. Much love. ❀

When Failure Leads To Discovery

Have you experienced that moment of failure that instead of leading to defeat spurs you onwards to try even harder? You set a goal for yourself, and even if you are met by dead ends at every turn, something wells up from deep inside and makes you dig your heels in. Isn’t it strange how sometimes falling down will leave you with such a sense of hopelessness you can’t find it in you to get back up, yet somehow, at other times, it is like a fire ignites within the deepest cavities of your being and you think oh, heck no. I don’t accept this.

Yesterday evening, I decided to go back to those lonely forest roads to make another attempt at finding my way to the lake. This time I asked Lilli if she would like to come along. She told me you know what my answer isOF COURSE! Loke tagged along, as well.

forest-fern-moss
55-250 mm
vibrant-fern-close-up
55-250 mm

Gravel roads lead through this area, and we met a tractor with a big load of timber on our way there. I had already thought that maybe these forests are plantations. Although not all of them seem to be actively harvested. But it would also explain why it’s such a desolate place. Maybe the forest owners have wanted to keep it that way? These are just my own wonderings; in all honesty, I don’t know all that much about how these things work. Still I find it interesting that wilderness exists right in the middle of clusters of towns and villages. And it all surrounds this lake. It seems almost a little mysterious.

 

sunset-through-spruce-branch
55-250 mm

 

We followed one of those forest machine-made paths and turned off a little before that brushy area I stopped at the first time. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the ground was covered in blueberry bushes, and they were so full of berries. I had given up on picking blueberries this season, but wow. They weren’t those little pearl-sized berries, either. They were enormous. And, of course, Loke decided it was an excellent place to have a poop. Haha In the end we had to return to the path when that whole blueberry field sat on a plateu, and the trees below it were so densely clustered I decided to search for another passage.

If I had followed that path the first time, and not stopped to stare at the thick brush of tall grass and raspberry bushes, I would have noticed it continued. So yesterday evening we wandered along that until I saw what were probably trails trampled up by deer or elk. Lilli, Loke and I followed in their steps, which lead us deeper and deeper into ghostly alleés of old and near bare-branched pines.

naked-spruce-branches
55-250 mm
forest-floor-spruce-foot-ferns
55-250 mm

What leads me to believe that this area has not been visited by any machines for a long time are the sizes of these trees, the thick and wild undergrowth, and the irrigation systems covered in green sheets of algea and tiny-leafed floating plants. A miniature landscape of moss and lichen flourished on the banks of these ditches. I have never seen anything like it. It didn’t occur to me to take photos of it because we were met by these at every turn, not even a hundred meters from the lake’s shore, and I became so disappointed I swore. Lilli said loudly MOM! Quit swearing so much.

In a last, stubborn attempt — we didn’t have too much left of daylight — I began to drag felled but thin pine logs which I threw across one of these irrigation ditches to create a bridge. They weren’t sturdy enough, though, and then Lilli started crying when I forbade her to cross. You didn’t even let me TRY! I pulled one of those traditional I am the adult and if I say they aren’t safe it is because they aren’t. I tried already! And she was wearing rubber boots which is not a good combination with slippery old wood.

The funny thing is that on our way back, I managed to lead us a different way than we came, and we got boxed in by these irrigation systems. So we had to jump. The one we crossed wasn’t as deep, nor wide and trecherous as those close to the lake.

rusty-old-tractor-cabin
55-250 mm / Lilli: I wonder what happened to the tyres?

Before getting back on the path, we stopped in a clearing when we saw an ancient, rusty tractor cabin. I took the opportunity to take some more photos while Lilli had a drink. I noticed then that I had forgotten to bring my 10-18 mm, so when I wanted to get some landscape photos, I pulled out the 18-55 mm that came with the camera. I haven’t used it since I bought the wide angle, and while I really was reminded in post-processing why I got the wide angle, I also realised that my photography truly has gotten better. So it isn’t entirely the lense’s fault. 😉

walking-among-pines-and-moss
18-55 mm / I kind of liked that I am blurred in a somewhat sharp setting.
moss-lichen-lingonberry-pines
18-55 mm
blurry-loke-among-moss-and-branches
18-55 mm / Loke rarely is still for more than a couple of seconds, and with the waning light and longer shutter speeds, it was a true challenge to capture him.
loke-in-the-forest
18-55 mm / But I did manage one! Lilli stood in front of him, talking, haha. 🙂
lilli-and-loke-in-the-forest
18-55 mm / Loke is in heaven when he has this many sticks and branches to play with. ❀
sunset-clouds-over-forest
18-55 mm

After this last shot we began our trek back to the car. My disappointment over not reaching the lake had completely settled and I was just so happy for this time with my daughter. As I write, she is most likely having candies and chilling with her grandfather in Rauma. Jay and I will go to get her tomorrow afternoon.

The lake still remains a mystery, but as I mentioned in the beginning, I am more determined now to reach its shores. There is another road that leads past it on the other side — a little further away, though — and I am going to explore what possibilities exist there next time. I do however believe I was meant to come this way first. If I hadn’t, and a clearer path indeed lies on the other side, I wouldn’t have ever discovered these old tree plantations to which I will return to take more photos of. I found them so incredibly beautiful in their ghostliness. Like old souls carrying secrets and wisdom from a time long gone. A kind of sadness clung to them, too, and I felt it as we made our way out of those alleĂ©s. I know I won’t be able to forget them.

autumn-aspen-leaves
55-250 mm
autumn-leaf-close-up
55-250 mm

By the time we got back to the car it was nearly dark, and we were all so ready to go home. I always get so tired after having been in the forest. I tried to explain it to Lilli once, because it isn’t the kind of sleepiness that makes me want to find a bed. Just so thoroughly content and relaxed. All that air and the smells of earth, recin — a sweet yet prickling freshness — and even the damp moss has its own charm. Oh, and the mushrooms. I absolutely love the smell of mushrooms. But. Lilli just gave me an odd look, wondering how I can be tired and not tired simultaneously.

I hope to be able to invite you to the next chapter of this search for those elusive shores soon. As I write this, Jay is getting the sauna ready, so I will wish you all a wonderful Saturday evening. 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 GrundtjĂ€rn 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. ❀

Tillit Och RĂ€dsla

Att skriva om min tid pÄ HÀrnösands folkhögskola var faktiskt nÄgonting jag ville göra redan innan jag blev klar med mina studier. Jag minns hur jag registrerade en blogg hÀr pÄ WordPress nÄgon gÄng under 2015 men det blev aldrig nÄgonting utav det. Varje gÄng jag satte mig framför datorn sÄ blev det bara tomt i huvudet. Jag vÄgade bara inte. Jag satt fast i den dÀr rÀdslan över vad andra skulle tycka och tÀnka om det jag skrev. Och vad hade jag att komma med bland havet av miljontals andra som bloggar? Visst Àr jag nyfiken pÄ vad ni lÀsare tycker och tÀnker, men jag bekymrar mig inte över att ni ska tycka jag Àr knÀpp och bua ut mig.

Jag brukade ocksÄ stÀnga in den visionen och den drömmen jag hade och tÀnkte att det gÄr ju inte att skriva om nÄgot som inte hÀnt Ànnu, att jag kan inte dela med mig av det jag har pÄ insidan innan jag ens vet eller förstÄr hur allt hÀnger ihop eller innan det börjat ta form. Innan det ser bra ut eller Àr nÄgonting vÀrt att visa. Men vet ni vad? Det gÄr inte att gömma sig och hoppas pÄ att solen ska nÄ dig i skuggorna samtidigt. Denna tro fick styrka under min tid pÄ HÀrnösands folkhögskola. Denna tro blir bara starkare för varje gÄng jag slÀpper ut mina ord och mina önskningar, hur ofÀrdigt och abstrakt det Àn mÄ vara. Att lÄta andra fÄ ta del av den jag Àr, det jag drömmer om, ger det substans. Gör det verkligt. Som de trÀd jag plockade ur lÄdorna hÀrom veckan och planterade i jorden. Nu stÄr de dÀr tillsammans med lingonris och mossa, stubbar och blommor under himlen och fÄr den nÀring de behöver för att vÀxa sig stora och starka och bli skog Äter igen.

LikasÄ skriver och delar jag bilder nu för att jag verkligen Àlskar och tror pÄ vad jag gör. Och just sÄ ska det vara. Just dÀrför tror jag att jag lyckas gÄ emot nervositeten ocksÄ. För att jag tog de dÀr första stegen, kom över tröskeln och kunde slÀppa ut vÄndorna och pÄ sÄ sÀtt ge plats för vad jag innerst inne tycker och kÀnner. Vad jag innerst inne vill.

CliffsAndWaves

Jag skulle vilja understryka hur min dÄliga tillit och tro pÄ andra bottnade i att jag inte litade pÄ mig sjÀlv. Jag kÀnner att bÄda gÄr hand i hand. För att lita pÄ nÄgon sÄ mÄste jag samtidigt slÀppa in dem, vara öppen, och det klarade jag inte riktigt av, för dÄ skulle de ju se vem jag verkligen var. VÀrdelös. Bara allmÀnt pÄfrestande och jobbig. Förtroendet för mig sjÀlv existerade inte, sÄ att lita pÄ nÄgon annan med den övertygelsen gick inte ihop.

CloseByCliffs

Den upplevelsen jag vill berÀtta om idag tog plats under en utav vÄra utflykter med de sÄ kallade intresse-grupperna. Det var lite olika frÄn termin till termin hur ofta vi möttes i dessa grupper, men jag hoppade i vilket fall pÄ Ute-gruppen en termin. Vi bestÀmde att vid varje tillfÀlle ge oss ut i naturen. En gÄng tog vi en vandringstur med snöskor, och en annan Äkte vi skidor. Det var bara sÄ roligt. Att börja dagen pÄ det viset gav sÄ oerhört mycket energi.

GlitteringOcean

I slutet av April förra Ă„ret (2016) for vi ut till Smitingen, ett friluftsomrĂ„de och strand/campingplats strax utanför HĂ€rnösand. DĂ€r finns bland annat vandringsleder, grillplatser–och klippor. PĂ„ de klipporna mötte jag den dĂ€r rĂ€dslan, och vid ett tillfĂ€lle undrade jag allvarligt om jag skulle överleva och nĂ„gonsin fĂ„ se min familj i Finland igen.

CliffsAndOcean

CliffsAndStudent

Till en början var det faktiskt inte sĂ„ farligt att vandra runt och klĂ€ttra lite lĂ€tt pĂ„ dessa bumlingar till stenar. Jag Ă€lskar ju att ge mig ut pĂ„ Ă€ventyr, jag verkligen njuter ute i naturen. Dofter av barr och kĂ„da, det dĂ€r mineralaktiga kittlet i nĂ€san frĂ„n havet, ja, allting doftar sĂ„ hĂ€rligt, sĂ„ mustigt och uppfriskande pĂ„ samma gĂ„ng. Det var inte förrĂ€n vi kom lĂ€ngre ut som jag blev osĂ€ker. Och plötsligt stod jag dĂ€r vid en avgrund och stirrade ner–försökte verkligen att inte göra det men misslyckades. RĂ€dslan slog klorna i mig. Vi hade kommit fram till en slukande fĂ„ra i berget och i mina ögon sĂ„g det rent utav livsfarligt ut. VĂ„gorna sköljde in i den dĂ€r skrevan, djupt nere i mörkret, och det var alldeles ruggigt lĂ€skigt. Jag rös.

ScalingTheCliffs

TeacherAndStudent

Min lÀrare bara seglade till andra sidan och sade det Àr lÀtt. Det hÀr klarar du. Litar du pÄ mig? Jag tror jag sade nÀ, men jag litar inte pÄ nÄgon. Dessutom tÀnkte jag att, hah, ja, lÀtt för dig som skuttar frÄn klippa till klippa som om du var född hÀr. Jag ville verkligen inte. Jag kunde ju slÄ ihjÀl mig! Jag ville gÄ tillbaka, vÀnda om. KÀnde mig nog ocksÄ lite lÀtt irriterad över hela situationen. Varför skulle vi ut just hit? Fanns det inte nÄgon annan vÀg? Jo. Upp. Men den sÄg Ànnu hemskare ut. SÄ dÀr stod jag, gjorde nÄgra halvhjÀrtade och klumpiga försök att ta mig över men klÀngde mest till sidan av bergvÀggen och kÀnde mig allmÀnt som ett vettskrÀmt rÄdjur fastfruset i helljusen pÄ en bil.

HighUpTheCliffs

Jag kan inte. Det hĂ€r gĂ„r inte. Jag kommer aldrig klara detta. Jag vill inte. Vilken fullstĂ€ndigt korkad idĂ© att komma hit, jag saktar ju bara ner alla. De kommer inte kunna ta emot mig, de kommer tappa greppet–jag kommer tappa greppet. Fy vad jobbig jag Ă€r.

Mitt huvud var fullstÀndigt fullproppat med alla möjliga omöjligheter. Hela jag var instÀlld pÄ att inte försöka. Mitt minne bedrar mig lite hÀr nu för nÀr jag vÀl bestÀmde mig sÄ stÀngde jag av hela tankeverksamheten. Jag gjorde inte som Ronja Rövardotter i alla fall och detta var inte ens nÀra inpÄ sÄ brett som helvetesgapet. IstÀllet tog jag min lÀrares hand, tvingade mig sjÀlv att trotsa min misstro, och sedan var jag plötsligt pÄ andra sidan. Det Àr underligt hur jag minns att han sade nÄgot men jag kommer bara inte ihÄg vad det var.

NÀr jag vÀl stod dÀr och hade pustat ut sÄ minns jag dock sÄ vÀl att jag sade högt men lite skakigt: nÀsta gÄng jag Àr rÀdd för att göra nÄgonting sÄ ska jag se tillbaka pÄ den hÀr dagen. Klarar jag det hÀr klarar jag allt. Och tro mig, det har jag sannerligen gjort. Jag kommer aldrig glömma den upplevelsen. Den dÀr kÀnslan av att slita mig loss ur rÀdslans grepp. Den dÀr kÀnslan att Ja! Jag klarade det! Och inte bara det, men det att jag faktiskt tog emot styrkan och sÀkerheten i en annan mÀnniskas hjÀlp. Det var mÀktigt. Jag reflekterade inte över det just dÄ, men efter att jag delade med mig av detta i aulan pÄ skolavslutningen sÄ kom min lÀrare fram till mig och gav mig en kram. Att just denna upplevelsen hade betytt sÄ mycket för mig kunde ju ingen vetat för jag sade det aldrig rÀtt ut. Inte pÄ det hÀr viset. Men jag Àr glad att jag gjorde det.

Detta var bara en utav de mÄnga fler utmaningar jag antog under de tvÄ Ären jag studerade pÄ HÀrnösands folkhögskola. Men för var gÄng jag tog ett steg trots att hela jag vibrerade med det hÀr gÄr inte, struntade i om jag skulle göra bort mig eller sÀga fel, lyckas eller inte, sÄ lade jag ner en sten. En grundsten till sjÀlvförtroende och tillit till vÀrlden runtomkring. Jag förde anteckning efter anteckning som jag sedan kunnat anvÀnda och kontra de dÀr rösterna inom mig med som alltid tidigare övertalat mig att jag inte kan. Nu fÄr de sÀga som de vill, för jag vet att jag kan. Bara jag fortsÀtter, bara jag tar de dÀr stegen.

TheOutdoorGang

HappyUpTop

Just den hÀr lÀraren vi var ute med pÄ dessa Àventyr hade ocksÄ en sÄdan sprudlande entusiasm att man inte kunde annat Àn att bli medryckt. SjÀlvklart kom det dagar dÄ jag bestÀmt spjÀrnade emot, men dÄ fick det vara sÄ. Ingen blev tvingad. MÄnga utav lÀrarna dÀr pÄ skolan hade den dÀr speciella förmÄgan att se och hjÀlpa oss fokusera pÄ vÄra styrkor. Just det var nyckeln för mig, för jag var ju redan sÄ duktig pÄ att Àlta mina svagheter. Med den hjÀlpen har jag dessutom till och med lyckats börja vÀnda dem till styrkor. För det Àr ju fakitskt sÄ att jag hade valt att se saker och ting frÄn en negativ synvinkel. Jag hade under Ärens lopp fÄtt för vana att sÀtta kÀppar i hjulet för mig sjÀlv. IstÀllet för att se det jag kunde göra Ät en situation sÄ satt jag och rÄglodde mig blind pÄ allt jag inte kunde. Och alla de misslyckanden jag skulle fÄ kÀnna av om jag ens försökte. Nej, du, det Àr inte vÀrt det. Det kommer bara gÄ Ät pipsvÀngen ÀndÄ.

Joho, du, tĂ€nker jag nu. GĂ„r det Ă„t pipsvĂ€ngskrokarna sĂ„ blir jag bara en erfarenhet rikare. Lyckandet ligger inte i att vĂ€rja sig mot misslyckanden. Det Ă€r ju bara det att man missar ibland, speciellt i början, eller hur? SĂ„ man fĂ„r ta sig an det igen tills man inte missar. Gör om gör rĂ€tt, som nĂ„gra utav dessa hĂ€rliga mĂ€nniskor kunde sĂ€ga ibland. Med den instĂ€llningen försöker jag ta mig an nya utmaningar nu. Jag vet ju att ibland funkar det bara inte. Vad jag har mĂ€rkt Ă€r viktigt dĂ„ Ă€r att acceptera att man just nu inte kan, inte orkar, och lĂ„ter det fĂ„ vara en stund. Fokusera pĂ„ annat man kan. Men bara en stund. SĂ„ lĂ€nge man gör ett nytt försök, sĂ„ lĂ€nge man inte ger upp sĂ„ kommer man vidare. Jag tĂ€nker lite som sĂ„, att vi liksom naturen runt omkring ocksĂ„ har Ă„rstider inom oss. För mig har jag insett att den jobbigaste tiden alltid har varit vĂ„ren. Just dĂ„ nĂ€r allting stĂ„r still–nĂ€r vĂ„ren lĂ€gger i backen, snön kommer pĂ„ nytt och pĂ„ nytt, och knopparna bara vill sig inte fram, Ă€ven om solen strĂ„lar och fĂ„glarna kvittrar. Men jag vet ju, att tjĂ€len gĂ„r ur varje Ă„r. Förr eller senare. SĂ„ nĂ€r vĂ„ren kommer, vilken Ă„rstid det nu Ă€n mĂ„ vara för var och en, sĂ„ fĂ„r vi vara lite snĂ€llare mot oss sjĂ€lva, ha lite överseende och tĂ„lamod.

SĂ„ hĂ€r till sist vill jag lĂ€mna en personlig hĂ€lsning: ett stort tack till er som Ă€r med i bild och gav mig tillĂ„telse att fĂ„ anvĂ€nda dessa foton. Bamsekramar! ❀

Till er alla andra–tack sĂ„ mycket för att ni har varit med och lĂ€st. Som jag nĂ€mnde i första inlĂ€gget sĂ„ tror jag pĂ„ att vi tillsammans kan lĂ€ra oss av varandra, sĂ„ det vore jĂ€tteroligt om ni vill dela med er av nĂ„gonting som förĂ€ndrat eller gjort ett stort intryck pĂ„ just ert liv. HĂ€r i kommentarerna eller med dem som ni har runtomkring er.

Ta hand om er sjĂ€lva och varandra, och ha en riktigt fin midsommar. ❀

WeMadeIt

Överrösta Dina RĂ€dslor: En Introduktion

Be Louder Than Your Fears. Överrösta dina rĂ€dslor. SĂ„ stĂ„r det i min header hĂ€r pĂ„ min blogg. Ord jag har med mig i tankarna varje dag nu. De dagar jag kliver ut pĂ„ slagfĂ€ltet för att utmana mig sjĂ€lv Ă€r dessa orden min fana. De Ă€r trumslagen som sprider sig liksom inifrĂ„n, styrker mig, lyfter mitt huvud och motarbetar skĂ€lvningarna i mina knĂ€n. Jag bĂ€r dessa orden i mitt hjĂ€rta och jag lĂ€mnar min rustning och min sköld. Jag kan inte gömma mig bakom barriĂ€rer om jag vill ta emot förĂ€ndring. Jag kan inte formas om jag inte tar utmaningarna eller tar in konsekvenserna. Jag vill ta emot dem. KĂ€nna dem. Jag vill förstĂ„ dem.

seek-to-understand

RĂ€dsla. Jag sitter hĂ€r och tĂ€nker pĂ„ den, hur den en gĂ„ng genomsyrade varje beslut jag tog och styrde hela mitt liv. RĂ€dslan verkar inte vara en soloartist dock. RĂ€dslan Ă€r inte bara rĂ€dsla. RĂ€dslan Ă€r att inte tro pĂ„ sig sjĂ€lv, att inte ha sjĂ€lvkĂ€nsla. Det dĂ€r underliga behovet av bekrĂ€ftelse och beröm frĂ„n andra, Ă€ven om man aldrig nĂ„gonsin tror pĂ„ det. Hur mycket uppmuntran och lovord jag Ă€n fick sĂ„ tog det inte. All kritik och nedvĂ€rdering jag hade fĂ„tt under hela mitt liv tillĂ€ts ta överhand, de orden som sved mest segrade alltid. Jag bjöd in dem och gjorde dem till en del av mig, fick för vana att intala mig sjĂ€lv att jag var falsk. Jag vaktade mina ord för jag kunde ju försĂ€ga mig och dĂ„ skulle alla till slut se och förstĂ„ vem jag verkligen var. En dĂ„lig och fullkomligt misslyckad varelse. Totalt vĂ€rdelös. Lite hĂ„rt–lite vĂ€l att ta i kanske? Ja, det Ă€r hĂ„rda ord men det Ă€r just precis sĂ„ som jag uppfattade mig sjĂ€lv.

challenge-your-fears

Tillit. Jag litade inte pĂ„ nĂ„gon, nĂ„gonsin. Hur kunde jag det? Jag var helt övertygad om att vem jag Ă€n mötte, vem jag Ă€n lĂ€rde kĂ€nna skulle bedra mig, göra mig illa, hata mig och lĂ€mna mig. SĂ„ jag gav dem aldrig riktigt en chans att visa mig hur fel jag hade. Jag hade alltid rĂ€tt, skulle alltid ha rĂ€tt. Det var bĂ€ttre sĂ„ och lĂ€ttare sĂ„. Åtminstone behövde jag inte utsĂ€tta mig sjĂ€lv för besvikelse, vilket var helt knasigt, för jag blev alltid besviken Ă€ndĂ„.

trust-in-yourself

Hopp. Den dĂ€r förkrossande kĂ€nslan av att förlora hoppet medan det samtidigt lever kvar. Jag orkade inte, ville inte, men nog tusan fanns det kvar. NĂ„gonstans i djupet av mitt innre sĂ„ gav det aldrig upp. Det var en underlig kĂ€nsla, en kĂ€nsla jag kom till att hata innan det vĂ€nde. Ett glödande kol som tĂ€nde elden pĂ„ nytt och drev mig Ă€nnu en gĂ„ng. Jag minns den dĂ€r sjĂ€lvironin jag hade: Jaha, vi kör vĂ€l en vĂ€nda till dĂ„ för helvete, bara för att det Ă€r sĂ„ jĂ€vla roligt att misslyckas och bli totalt krossad. Fy fan vad kul! Jag brukade undra över om det bara var min envishet–ibland kan jag fortfarande undra.  Jag liknade det vid nĂ„gon slags kugghjulsmekanism som fanns dĂ€r djupt nere. Hur hemskt och mörkt och alldeles förjĂ€vligt jag Ă€n mĂ„dde sĂ„ krĂ€ngde de dĂ€r kuggarna Ă€ndĂ„. Runt, runt. Det var som om jag var fastbunden i ett rep och slĂ€pades över grus och asfalt, genom grumliga och kalla myrar. Och aldrig nĂ„gonsin tog det slut.

BauerInspired_ForestCreature
Jag delar denna bilden som en hyllning till de som för mig personligen spridit hopp under olika stadier i mitt liv: vÄra Àldre svenska konstnÀrer, som Elsa Beskow och John Bauer, till min mormor och farmor som fyllde min barndom med dessa förtrollande sagor, och till Jonna Jinton som lyckas förmedla och förverkliga det dÀr barnahoppet om en vÀrld dÀr magi och drömmar fortfarande existerar.

SÄ vad hÀnde? Hur Àndrades allt och vad var det som fick det att vÀnda? Jag har stÀllt dessa frÄgor till mig sjÀlv hur mycket som helst. Under de sista veckorna pÄ HÀrnösands folkhögskola förde jag rejÀla diskussioner med mig sjÀlv för att klura ut hur det gick till. Hur bar jag mig Ät? Vilket var det vÀndande ögonblicket? Jag listade inte ut det. Jag har fortfarande inte hittat det. För jag tror verkligen inte pÄ att det existerar. Det dÀr magiska tillfÀllet finns inte. Snarare ligger det dÀr oförklarliga i en hel rad av ögonblick och hÀndelser som leder till insikt. Jag tÀnker mig det som morgondimman dagen efter ett högtryck. Den skingrar sig lÄngsamt allteftersom solen klÀttrar upp och lÀgger sig till ro. Det slog mig inte att dimman lyfte, att den var pÄvÀg att försvinna, sÄ jag höll inte koll pÄ processen.

DĂ€remot har jag mina dagböcker. I dem har jag skrivit nu sedan 2014. Till en början sporadiskt, för att med tiden ha skapat en vana. Och genom att lĂ€sa det jag skrivit kan jag se hur jag utvecklats, sakta–ibland vĂ€ldigt sakta–men om vartannat vacklande och stadigt har jag tagit mig framĂ„t. Genom konstant utmaning, misslyckanden och lyckanden, ihĂ€rdighet och lite jĂ€vlar anamma har jag samlat ovĂ€rderliga erfarenheter och kommit till insikt. Allt Ă€r en process, allt kan jag ta–en dag i taget. Ett steg i taget.

one-step-at-a-time

För ett par veckor sedan Ă„kte jag tillbaka till HĂ€rnösands Folkhögskola i Sverige för att hĂ€lsa pĂ„ och ta emot ett stipendie. Jag blev sĂ„ oerhört rörd av detta, det var som en ytterligare bekrĂ€ftelse pĂ„ hur jag faktiskt har lyckats ta mig igenom och över sĂ„ mycket under de senaste tre Ă„ren. SĂ„ nĂ€r jag fick meddelandet frĂ„n utbildningsledaren sĂ„ kĂ€nde jag att nu Ă€r det dags att skriva om detta. Jag hade lĂ€nge velat göra det, men detta gav mig en extra skjuts och jag satte igĂ„ng. Först skrev jag pĂ„ engelska men sedan ville jag utmana mig sjĂ€lv och skriva pĂ„ svenska ocksĂ„. FrĂ„n arton Ă„rs Ă„lder har jag svĂ€vat runt i hela vĂ€rlden nĂ€stan. Det kĂ€nns sĂ„ i alla fall. Och pĂ„ grund av det har jag under Ă„rens lopp blivit mer bekvĂ€m med engelskan Ă€n med mitt modersmĂ„l. SĂ„ ocksĂ„ som ett tack för det stöd och den peppen jag fick under mina tvĂ„ Ă„r pĂ„ folkhögskolan, att jag kan ju faktiskt skriva pĂ„ svenska ocksĂ„, sĂ„ bestĂ€mde jag mig till slut för att ge det en chans.

take-the-chance

Att skriva om mina upplevelser pĂ„ svenska fyllde mig med sĂ„dan tacksamhet och jag hade tĂ€nkt att publicera detta innan jag Ă„kte, minus styckena om stipendiet, för det skulle jag ju hĂ„lla hemligt fram till skolavslutningen. Men det blev inte av. Jag tĂ€nkte dĂ„ att efterĂ„t, dĂ„ klickar jag pĂ„ knappen, dĂ„ publicerar jag. Jag tĂ€nkte ocksĂ„ att dĂ„ kunde jag ha fĂ„tt med lite bilder frĂ„n skolan. Jag glömde sedan helt bort mig mitt i lyckoruset av att fĂ„ trĂ€ffa alla igen och nervositeten inför det tal jag hade bestĂ€mt mig för att leverera efter jag tog emot stipendiet. Men sĂ„ satt jag dĂ€r, som fastfrusen i stolen och kunde inte röra mig. Andra gick upp, och deras ord gav sĂ„dan inspiration, deras eget mod att dela med sig utav sina tankar och kĂ€nslor strĂ„lade ut i aulan och dĂ„–dĂ„ slĂ€ppte det. Det Ă€r sĂ„ oerhört fint att vi kan inspirera varandra sĂ„. Det Ă€r just denna atmosfĂ€ren som hjĂ€lpte mig under mina tvĂ„ Ă„r pĂ„ HĂ€rnösands folkhögskola. Den styrker och uppmuntrar. Även om det inte alltid sĂ€gs rĂ€tt ut i ord sĂ„ Ă€r det som om man gĂ„r in i en stor famn och blir omsluten av allt det dĂ€r som behövs för att vĂ„ga börja ta de första stegen att hitta sig sjĂ€lv, hitta sin egen röst, och sedan bygga upp den.

NĂ€r jag stod dĂ€r uppe sĂ„ forsade allt bara ut. Jag glömde till och med att berĂ€tta vem jag var, vilket en vĂ€nlig sjĂ€l i publiken pĂ„minde mig om. Jag valde att berĂ€tta om just den hĂ€ndelsen jag skrev om i min text. Den Ă€r bara en utav de mĂ„nga, mĂ„nga upplevelser och stunder jag fick vara med om, som pĂ„ ett eller annat sĂ€tt givit mig möjlighet att utmana och utveckla mig sjĂ€lv. SĂ„ med lite bilder frĂ„n den dagen kommer jag i nĂ€sta inlĂ€gg dela just den upplevelsen. Tills dess vore det jĂ€tteroligt om ni ocksĂ„ ville dela med er av nĂ„gon speciell hĂ€ndelse som haft stor betydelse i just ert liv. Efter min tid pĂ„ folkhögskolan tror jag Ă€nnu starkare pĂ„ att vi kan lĂ€ra oss mer Ă€n vad vi tror av varandra och det behöver inte vara storslaget. Ibland kan det vi sjĂ€lva tycker Ă€r sjĂ€lvklart eller till och med en bagatell göra sĂ„ mycket för nĂ„gon annan. ❀

A Challenge And Creative Exposure

Good morning, everyone! Once again I am here in the early hours of the morning with my eyes wide open. These summer nights really do mess up the inner clock, and it’s the same thing every year. Vibrant days, bright nights. It is like an endless kaleidoscope of shifting colours and lights. Mornings are like a dreamy haze, but I keep waiting for the mist which has yet to grace us with its mystical presence. The days are covered in a white film which leaves you blind as you step back inside, if only for a few seconds. And the evenings–these evenings simply glow.

Today I decided to practice getting more comfortable in front of the camera. I am too aware of that it’s there and end up thinking too much of what I want it to look like when I should just let go and feel. Sometimes that shows in my photos, and other times not. So out of the two hundred photos I took of myself today I have selected only a few.

BlackAndWhite

This isn’t actually so different from how nervous I was before I had to get up and do a presentation in front of the class back in school. I remember one of my teachers from HĂ€rnösand Folk High. Two other classmates and I had been on a seminar in Stockholm, and when we got back we were supposed to talk about our trip and the seminar in front of the class. I told my teacher about how I kept freaking out, I had no idea what to say, and I felt physically ill. He gave me some incredible advice that day which I have not forgotten since. He said (not in these exact words, perhaps): No one but you know what you are going to say, so no one will know if you mess up. And no one else but you can speak for you and how you perceive things.

MellowColours

In the end it all came down to being myself–daring to be myself. Not what I imagined was expected of me, not what I thought others wanted to hear. Just me and my words and my own experiences. Of course, afterwards I used to obsess excessively over what I had said and how that might have come across. Did I offend anyone? Did I say something that might have sounded odd or could have been perceived badly? Did I say too little? Too much? Did I sound awkward? Admittedly, that little voice of insecurity still pops up at times. These days, however, I am better equipped to let that voice be, to challenge its convictions. Also, I remind myself that we are billions of people on this planet–an unimaginably big place vibrant with cultures and beliefs, perceptions and opinions. We will always run into those who have lived very different lives than us, that are shaped by their own experiences and I believe more or less each and every one of us have our own truth. We are all on a journey to explore that truth. I see it the way I look at light and shadows falling across a rock on the ground. If I stand where the light shines, I only see that angle. I know a shadow falls behind the rock, but unless I move to look I cannot possibly know what is in the shade. And every movement around that rock will give me a different view. If I took a photo for every step it would show something new.

Sepia-ish

I believe it is just as simple with people. Simple, but I won’t claim it’s easy, because it’s not. I have chosen, though, to in the best of my ability always strive for acceptance of all these truths, whether I know them or understand them or don’t. And to remember I gain nothing from getting anxious or worried about what others may or may not think. And most importantly, different does not equal wrong, it is not its synonym. Different is just different.

CozyDreamyGlow

All throughout my time at HĂ€rnösand Folk High I challenged that voice–the many different voices of old perceptions, narrowed and bound. I stretched my limits. Sometimes I tried too hard, went too fast and was too eager when I noticed what a kick it was to break free. That, yes, I can do this. But I also had moments when I wanted to pull back into my safe cocoon. I did, too–in conjunction with that presentation of the seminar I was suffering from anemia, so it was easy to accept a sickness leave. I was gone from school for three weeks. I had taken those firsts steps, though, and suddenly sitting alone in my apartment and watching Netflix didn’t give me the escape I thought I had longed for, and I kept berating myself. I, who was diagnosed with social phobia, wanted to be back among my new classmates and teachers, even if I didn’t really know any of them yet. As I have come to wonder now later on is that perhaps I didn’t ever have a phobia, rather I was constantly running on empty by not knowing how to listen to my own needs. I need my own time, I know this now, but what I was missing, what I didn’t understand, was the balance between the two. What I didn’t know how to was to say no, to say I would rather sit at home today and read or write or whatever else I enjoyed doing on my own.

SomeKindOfVibrance

So. I am now going to challenge myself in front of my own camera. For a while now I have had some ideas for photo art projects. They came to me when I shot a severely underexposed photo, and while trying to fix it in Lightroom it ended up looking more like a painting than a photograph. It gave me the same feeling as the illustrations in the children’s books my grandmother used to have. Artists such as John Bauer and Elsa Beskow. Their pictures are so special. So magical. So imaginative and creative–the way only children’s stories and fairy tales can be. My grandmother also passed away in December last year which hit me incredibly hard, so I kind of want to do it partly to celebrate and honour all the ways she enriched my childhood. I miss her so much my heart can barely take it when I think too long about it.

WarmAndRosy

Another part is that I feel so immensely inspired and encouraged to keep following this endeavour by a wonderful Swedish artist, blogger and photographer who, amazingly, actually did an interpretation of a John Bauer illustration some years ago. I remember the first time I saw it, about two years ago now–my jaw dropped. I think I wrote a comment on how it made me think of this particular John Bauer picture–and later on I read that she, too, loves his art. And the story behind that image she created is just mindblowing. I can’t find words to describe how I felt. It transcends what I accept as reality–it is the kind of experience that makes you truly wonder how this universe works beyond what science can explain. Her name is Jonna Jinton, and if you haven’t already heard of her then I cannot urge you enough to visit her blog and have a look at her art.

It is one thing to do a yoga-ballet pose on top of a mountain, facing away from the camera, but another to convey a feeling that matches the visions I have for the art I want to create. It will require emotion and immersion, dedication and battling a lot of frustration and failures as I go along, I am sure. I have been afraid to do this, and I have thought that I should get better at photography first, better at editing and learn more about Photoshop before I even share my ideas. But earlier today as I wrote in my journal, I asked myself isn’t the process the very thing I wanted to share? The very reason I started the blog was because I figured out that waiting for the right time results in nothing but waiting.

So, once gain I will say that here I am, then. I am just going to go for it. And, as always, thank you so much for reading. It really means so much to me. ❀