Posts in philosophy
Witch Riot (Again)

I don’t care about your definition of when “life” starts. Your definition of when x becomes a human. A baby instead of x inside a womb. A tiny human with rights and a personality and a chance of being someone in this world, worthy of protection. Worthy of more protection than the already existing human who carries x inside of them. We don’t have to debate that. We can agree to disagree on when and where and how.

I also don’t care about what god(s) you pray to. I do not care about what you believe happens after death. If we have souls, and where they origin from. You have the right to pick and choose whatever you believe in when it comes to things we cannot scientifically define. Especially if that ideology have no effect on other humans. Some days when I feel like shit I imagine a god, sometimes I imagine the possibility of other worlds. I imagine reincarnation. I see auras, I believe in my horoscope. I read books, watch films, and I live more in that made-up world than I live in this real one. Because temporarily it makes me feel better. And those thoughts do not harm anyone else.

Feel free to have your own beliefs, by all means feel free to believe in something if it makes you feel better about living in this world with so many questions and such few answers. Whatever makes you sleep at night, believe in it. Fill your days with magic if necessary. Believe in nothing at all, if that makes you feel the best. Whatever tools you want to use in order to become a better human for this planet, use them.

Believing in something on a private level, and making it into law however is a completely different thing.

There is one question where my answer will always ring loud and clear and with such certainty, whereas other answers to other questions are filled with doubt. The question is do I trust womxn. The answer is yes and always will be yes.

The question of abortion is a strong one for me, and should be for anyone that cares for me and other womxn in this world. The answer will always be that I do not have a say in how a womxn wants to go through with their pregnancy. They know best. They can make the choice all on their own. They know when to keep x growing inside of them, they know when it’s time to let x go. I trust them to know that what could have been a dream is not a dream, but a nightmare. I trust them to make the right decision, because the only right decision is whatever they decide. We do not get to have a say. We should go on with our days, with gratitude knowing that we would be faced with the same respect and trust from society if that very difficult decision ever had to be made by us, this time regarding our own body.

When people, mostly men but also other womxn, wants to argue about whether or not abortion is right or wrong it infuriates me because we should not be having these conversations. Stop masking your “ideology” in this question as intelligence; as truth; as if we needed your point of view. You, with your harmful views, do not want to “save children”. You want to not trust womxn. You want to decide for them. You believe that womxn are dangerous, that we are not smart enough ourselves. That we need guidance in this world. Just like the Christian God punished Eve for making her own decisions, having free will. You can pretend it’s nothing like that, that you’re progressive because you read opinion pieces on the internet now. But it sounds all the same to me, it sounds like you don’t trust womxn. And that distrust comes from a deep rooted hatred of womxn. A deep rooted misogyny so well disguised you do not even notice it’s there yourself. I know, because I’ve internalised that hatred myself.

You do not trust womxn. You think a womxn would kill a baby to get out of minor inconvenient situation. You think they wouldn’t think twice about carving themselves up to kill a human being, just because it was an inconvenience to them. When does life start? When a baby can live “on its own (using high tech science)” outside the womb? Is it a human, then, or before? Before that, as a blood clot not bigger than a cheese doodle? Or sometime in between? Tell me, if a slug appeared in front of you, it had a heartbeat but not much else, but you knew that in 20 years time that slug could become a functioning human being - would you kill a womxn in order to save the slug? A living, breathing, womxn, standing in front of you. Would you throw away the womxn into poverty, depression, despair, only because maybe - just maybe - that slug could become SOMEONE of importance in this world. You’re not gonna make sure that happens, but the possibility is there, surely. Nevermind that the womxn also could be someone important. Never mind them.

I’m getting sidetracked. Because again, the definition doesn’t matter. We have no way of knowing, we all believe in different scenarios. If you believe that womxn will kill innocent babies unless you stop them, you have a serious problem with trusting womxn. I know so many womxn who have gone through abortions, and they always make the choice based on their own situation, what it requires. They decide to do the right thing. I have done an abortion myself. It was the right decision. There wasn’t a baby inside of me. It was. Something. An x, a fertilized egg, a fetus that could never have been a human. They (some abortions) exit your body the same way they came. Not meant for this world, not now, not yet. Some of them not bigger than a heavy period.

Have you ever seen a period? Have you seen chunks of blood collected in your underwear? Perhaps you should stare at it, once a month, before you’re allowed to have an opinion. It doesn’t have to be your own blood. Learn to sympathise with other people who have horrors you are privileged to be excluded from. Perhaps you should fill your body with unwanted and wanted sperm aka liquid filled with “potential babies” again and again and again. Feel the sharp and hollowing pain of unwanted penetration. Feel the joy of the wanted union. Then the fear that follows, when the magic is gone. What if? What Will I Do? Because for a brief moment it will be your choice and horror to deal with, and yours alone. Men will not care until it’s too late. Until they don’t trust you can make the right choice. It is up to you, it is your secret to carry, but God Forbids if you make the wrong choice. We Will Not Help You. There is only shame and grief and it belongs to you, the lesser one.

Most womxn I know who have had an abortion, and every story I have ever read about someone having an abortion, all tell me the same thing. That it was the right choice. It was a painful decision, for some an easy one, for others life-changing - filled with sorrow. But they are not regretful. It was the right thing to do. By making the most difficult and horrible decision of their life, they saved their own life. Or the lives of the future kids. Sometimes both.

Abortion sometimes means taking out x when x is already dead. A ban on abortion means a womxn have to carry out the pregnancy with a dead thing inside of them. Or a living x, who will at the first breath of air die in plain sight in front of the womxn due to foreseeable health conditions. Nine months of physical and emotional pain that could have been avoided. Abortion sometimes means taking a pill to stop the growth of x, so that the womxn can continue school, continue working, continue a healthy relationship (or end a bad one), continue with their own health being first priority, continue knowing that x’s health was first priority too. Because they knew that bringing x into this world would do x no good, not now, not here. You have to wait, or sometimes not come at all. Abortion means trusting womxn to know when the right time is for x to grow inside of them. It is their body. It is not a vessel. You do not have a say in what goes on in their uteruses.

Don’t we want a world with wanted children? You say, “But I Do Want This Specific Child To Be Born”. I say I do not trust your love for babies and humans. I cannot see the evidence that you are a caring person. Look at the already living, what do you do for them? What about children without parents, are you caring for them? What about marginalised people, are you fighting for their rights to thrive in this world? Are you helping out where help is needed? Where’s your guidance when it comes to injustice, poverty, racism, ableism, classism, sexism? Why is your voice so loud when the opinion regards a womxn’s right to choose over their own body, but so silent once a baby actually is born?

How can I make you understand, listen, HELP? What do you want to know? What can we tell you? How many womxn do you need to hear from before you comprehend that abortion is a personal choice and that the womxn is always making the right choice, always. How can we make you trust us? Trust that we are not evil witches with a purpose to kill babies just so we can live out our own desire to live in your so-called sin? How can we make you support us instead? Comfort us? Go through the fire with us instead of spitting on us for making the choice to go through the flames, ignoring the fact that it’s Our Only Way Out.

As you can tell this topic is personal. As you can tell it makes my blood boil. It’s almost like I can feel my witchy ancestors, exhausted and angry, riling up inside of me. Sighing: really, again? We’re doing this, still?

From Carrie & Lowell to Illinois

Every spring starts with deaths that, for some reason, I feel like I, personally, could’ve prevented. Which is simply not true. Last year it was Avicii. I was paralyzed by the news, felt so deeply connected to him as a person despite never really being a fan of his music before. Could I have done something different? Could I have been there for him in some way? Of course I couldn’t have, I didn’t know him. But he felt close. Someone my age, from my country, living out what we thought was his dream. But he wasn’t happy. He was sick. And the sickness took over. Universally coded success did not matter.

This spring another beautiful soul Angeliqa Mejstedt, an outdoor/hikefulness blogger from Sweden, took her own life. Angeliqa inspired us to live our best lives, to say no to what’s not bringing you joy and to pay attention to the small things. Always smiling, always advocating for nature and Mother Earth, always rooting for you. To, I’m gonna say, all of us it came as a complete shock that she was suffering from depression so severe she simply could not continue on living. Again I’m filled with the belief that I could’ve done something here, I could have saved her. But I did not know her, I just followed her on social media. We have no way of knowing what actually went on, and I’m not here to speculate. All I can conclude is that mental health is a serious, serious business. And that we can never know someone’s true state of mind simply by following along on their public-persona-journey.

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Sometimes it’s not enough to simply do more of the things that makes us happy. Healing from depression is not eliminating everything that doesn’t spark joy and keep whatever makes you happy. It’s just not as straight forward as a Marie Kondo clean-out. We can be surrounded with friends, family, joyful days and houses and things and trips, and love can be ALL around us but we can still feel lonely. And sad. Sad to the core, where love and joy cannot penetrate. For some of us it’s not as simple as making changes in our day-to-day life, some of us need professional help from doctors. But how do we know, how do we know what category we fall into?

So much of how we’re feeling and who we are can only be discovered in conversations with others. When we get uncomfortable, when we’re doing the things that are difficult and exhausting. Sometimes we have to not choose positivity, we have to dig deep into the pile of shit that is our thoughts. We have to do things that are really, really painful. People help, conversations help. But only if you open the door to them. Which is a battle in itself. A battle that’s hard to imagine if you haven’t been there yourself. It’s a “if you know, you know” type of scenario.

It’s hard to ask for help while thinking you’re being demanding; a hard-to-deal-with kind of person. Because people want you to be happy, and people have an idea of what happy means, so they think they know how to make you happy. It’s easy for them, do x, y and z. It’s hard to ask for help because sometimes it means to ask someone to be there for moments in complete darkness and not just for party that occurs when you reach the surface.

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Lately I’ve been feeling really low. I’ve been listening obsessively to Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens, and death has consumed me. Death of people I don’t know, the imaginable death of people I know and love and death of the planet. As beautiful as Carrie & Lowell as an album is, it’s an album about death. I realize this might not be the best type of music to consume when you’re already feeling down. But sometimes it’s necessary to lay down in the hole you dug yourself, to stay there for a while. To realize it’s not too bad, not if you only stay for a little while. Eventually you reach a point where you have to reach out, you have to ask for help. And when you reach that point, please please call on someone. Please let someone know. It’s hard, sometimes impossible, to get up on your own. You don’t (and won’t be able to) have to fix everything that’s wrong there and then, just ask for someone to listen.

Eventually after days of rain the sun will come out. I promise. It won’t stay forever, but life is complex and multi-dimensional. Just as it wont be all sunshine and rainbows, it doesn’t have to be all overcast and cold winds either. Let’s just help each other to battle both conditions.

One day you’ll put on Chicago from the Illinois album where Sufjan sings that all things go. He fell in love again, all things go. There is light somewhere out there, seek it.

The End Of All Ends
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Someone asked me the other day what my goals are; for life, in general. In the grand scheme of things, what do I dream of?

And I dream of so much. I have visions on top of visions, 76 goals at all times. I dream of a cottage. Of forests. Of lakes. Of pine needles and camp fires. I dream of having a garden, with big crowns of lettuce and potatoes. A green house with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Of keeping bees, goats, donkeys, 20 dogs and 2 cats. A big fat horse, that will take me around fields of wild flowers. I dream of having kids, to teach them about everything. Teach them about space and love,and how to be an active participant in society, how to cry and how to make someone smile. I dream of creating something I’m proud of. Releasing it to the world and to have people saying how proud they are of me. How beautiful it is. I’ll say “thank you!” instead of" “oh it’s nothing”. I dream of celebrating a lot; both celebrating my own life but also others.

I dream of meaning something to more people. Or mean more, but to a few. I dream of becoming someone people can trust, that they feel safe around. Someone who people cry to, someone that people go to when they need help. Or wanting a meal and a night in. I dream of going to the north and south and east and west. But intentionally, not just weekends here and there. I dream of really being where I am. At all times.

But that’s not what my reply was, of course. I replied that it doesn’t matter; that earth is doomed to be destroyed so what’s the point in having life goals. It was over a drink, so it wasn’t that serious. But the fear is real; I’m so anxious all the time that those dreams of mine won’t mean anything because we’re ruining our planet. And I tell myself I’m not allowed to be mad at others, because I’m not perfect myself.

But it’s not about being perfect. It’s about being an active participant in society; it’s about taking responsibility, to make the earth a better place. Even if it only improves a tiny, tiny, tiny bit. It’s still important, it’s still worth it. So I need to do better. That’s my goal. I need to write about it more. I refuse to stand at the end of all ends and have regrets; thinking I didn’t do enough. I didn’t even try. To know that I only had fear and anxiety, and left it at that. That I sat inside, trying to hide from the danger. To believe it would magically disappear by itself like in a fairytale.

Anyway. Spring has come to Vancouver, I have so much to talk about. The sweet smell of flowers and trees makes me hungry and full at the same time. I could eat you up, I love you so.

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You Are Lisa Simpson

If you were to ask me “Emma, do you consider yourself a workaholic” - I would probably say no, since I’m very, very much against the concept of “working” from an idealistic point of view. I preach resting and rebelling against our capitalists society that wants the hustle to kill you slowly by overworking and making you feel like no matter what you do, you’re just never gonna to be good enough. Strive for the impossible, and feel shit while doing it. Basically.

However. All I want to do right now is work. So. Figure that one out (please).

I’m extremely bad at being unemployed, being in this in-between period. I don’t get a rush of energy to search all the jobs and call all the people. At first, I want to do absolutely nothing except to lay on the couch eating baked goods and watch Netflix. After a while of doing nothing however, I panic about doing nothing. After a while, I want to go back to the exact thing I wanted to escape from just a mere couple of weeks ago. I am me, and work is my boyfriend that everyone tells me to dump because he’s making me severely depressed, he doesn’t cater for any of my needs but he pays the bills. So I stay. Because I’m scared of unpaid bills. And I guess I’m scared of who I am without him as well. Without work, I mean.

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Outside validation is extremely important to me. An old teacher of mine said out of all The Simpsons characters I was most like Lisa. Lisa knows she’s smarter than everyone else, but her knowing it herself is not enough. She needs teachers to tell her that she’s smarter than everyone else. It wasn’t exactly my nicest compliment / the one I’m most proud of, but it was probably truer than any of the compliments I’ve ever received, so. It’s something anyway.

Work provides outside validation. It provides me with a problem to solve - becoming liked, becoming an expert at something, becoming better than other people at something. And I love solving problems! But only if other people created the problem. Only if I’m there to impress others, not if I’m there to only impress myself. That’s why I stay at jobs that do me no good, because I’m absolutely addicted to the validation and security they provide.

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But Emma, why don’t you just get a job you like, I hear you ask. And it’s a fair question. That has been asked many times before, often by my actual boyfriend. And by myself every single work day. “It’s not that easy!” And it isn’t. No matter how many white, middle class influencers online tell you otherwise. In order to go for what you want, you have to figure out what it is you want. Then what follows are a lot of even more complicated steps - but just that one step of actually KNOWING what it is you want, can crush you. Because how can we decide on just this one thing?

For me, it’s always been easier to become good at something I’m not particularly interested in. Because if I am interested in it, and I try it and I find out that I’m not good at it, that would be the end of it. So I prefer to play other peoples’ games instead of my own. Because I’m confident that I could do what they’re doing, but better. I am, however, not confident that I would be even okay:ish at my own game. And that is scary.

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This all sound like a lame excuse as to why I’m not pursuing something. But again, I’m not even sure what it is that I want to pursue. I’m so jealous of people with clear goals. “I want to be a lawyer”, “I want to work with coding”, “I want to design buildings” - whatever it is, I’m so, so happy for you that you know and that there is a somewhat clear path for you to take!

I thought I wanted to do feature film work, hence why I studied film for over 10 years and now have a Masters degree in it. But now I’m not so sure. So what do you do when you’ve had a somewhat clear path, but then abandoned it? Not only do you have to come up with something else, you have to deal with the pressure from yourself plus everyone else thinking (probably) that you’ve wasted 10 years and will probably waste another 10 years on the “next big thing”, only to realize down the line that your second choice really didn’t interest you either.

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And while you’re figuring out what would make you happy, career-wise, you have to provide for yourself. You have to pay bills. Most of us can’t take a year off to “figure things out”. And even people that do have that opportunity, spend most of the time off anxiously thinking “I should be doing something else”, so all that off-time never comes into good use anyway.

So I’m sitting here, on my couch, knowing how to move forward but not in what direction. I want to work. I want to give something my all. I want (need) money, not a lot but I need to get by. I have energy to work. I have ambition. I have a big box of great stuff, I just don’t know who to give it to! Sometimes I think I know, and I take baby step towards that place, only to retreat and change my mind. Because it’s scary. It’s way easier going back to what you hated, what was familiar. And I’m a big baby in the shape of Lisa Simpson whose main wish is just to go back to doing homework in the system that raised her not to be a free-thinker but be a cute lil’ successful conformist (no matter how 'liberal’ she wanted to come off as).

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The Art of Doing Nothing
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Getting closer to 30 is just as exhilarating as I assumed it would be. For as long as I can remember I’ve been longing for 30. For me, 30 always meant being able to live the “boring” lifestyle everyone claimed I lived anyway, without feeling any guilt about things I should be doing. It’s almost like how babies become a grand excuse to get out of things. “I can’t go to that thing with you tonight, you see I’m 30 now.”

I’ve always enjoyed doing nothing. I played on my own a lot as a child (I know, major surprise there). I enjoyed going on trips or staying over with my grandparents. Their slower pace suited me; there was so much space for all that daydreaming I was occupied with. Anyway. As you grow up, you start realising that doing nothing is not valued by our society. On public transportation you see people working, to save time. Instead of just enjoying the train ride, you could do some work on your laptop, or at least read a book. As technology progressed, this became even more prominent. There are now more and more tools for us to use in order to secure productivity at all times.

I could never be productive all of the time. I get spurts, and if I miss one of those spurts it’s g o n e. On buses and trains I prefer to do nothing at all. At cafes, my favourite pastime is to do absolutely nothing at all. Maybe browse on the internet, maybe listening to music, maybe read or write down some words in my journal. But for me, those activities is just an extension of a daydream. Not something that will actually lead to something. It’s doing an activity with an end goal in mind that I have a problem with, not the act of doing itself.

One of the perks of almost being 30, especially as a woman, is knowing how your body works in seasons, too. You become aware of when you have energy to produce, invent, organise, analyse or when you should simply do nothing other than just rest. Let things simmer. Otherwise the flavours won’t come out etc. My body has worked the same for many years now; there are a couple of hours a day where I can be creative - but not every day. I cannot study or write an essay after 5pm. My brain shuts down.

I remember days in college where me and my friends would all go to Starbucks for an intense study-session, and all I did was just stare at pictures of dogs (probably). I called it procrastination. I thought it was me trying actively NOT to work. We look at procrastination as something negative, and maybe it is. But maybe we don’t always procrastinate just cause we choose not to do something? Maybe we just need that time to be spent doing absolutely nothing at all.

None of those days where I rested instead of working did me any harm. I still graduated. With good grades, mind you. I went to bed early. I avoided all-nighters like the plague. I knew that wasn’t my style, I couldn’t handle it. And this I hold very dear: the knowledge of exactly what my body needs.

Right now I’m not working. I’m in between jobs. I’m taking some time to do absolutely nothing at all. It helps that the first weeks of my unemployment is being spent pre-menstruating and menstruating. Yes I said it. It helps slow things down, it allows me to not rush into things and then feeling like shit because it wasn’t the right type of thing. I know there will be a time when I won’t like resting, where I thrive on being creative and productive. But I know that that time is not right now. And acknowledging your seasons gives you all the power.

Some inspiring articles:

“In a world that has glorified hustling and exhaustion in pursuit of creative production for far too long, my cycle has shown me sustainable creativity is not only possible, but wildly effective.” - Claire Baker
https://wepresent.wetransfer.com/story/claire-baker-periods-and-creativity/

“We don’t have to glorify work. … There are only so many hours in a day, and I’ll be damned if I will work more of them than I have to.” - Laura Jane Williams
https://www.redonline.co.uk/red-women/blogs/a25829735/laura-jane-williams-death-to-the-hustle/


Thoughts of June

I write a word here and there. I start drafts, I edit pictures. Within minutes I get distracted, by a view, a thought, someone else's texts and pictures. I watch Netflix with Andrew. We go on car rides. I make dinners, I talk to my parents. I complain that my skin is always itchy, my muscles always achy, my brain is always over stimulated or under stimulated. I never open my computer. I clean everything with vinegar and I fold our freshly washed clothes into the only chest of drawers that we own. I read up about nutrition and how to best care for your pet. I dream of owning 15 different animals on a farm somewhere. I dream of writing, reading, cooking, caring, living. I live now, too. This is my life. This is the in between stuff. I rarely feel pretty enough, I rarely feel rich enough or smart enough or funny enough. But I'm getting really good at not giving those feelings as much power as I used to. There is power in just being. Just enjoying now. I give power to moments that brings me joy; waking up two hours before I have to leave the apartment, being on the bus listening to music or podcasts and texting loved ones, working with my body and mind every day doing something I love, having delicious home cooked dinners without a thought of diet and "good vs bad" food, watching tv-shows in my pyjamas with Andrew brushing my hair, falling asleep on the couch, sleeping for more than 8 hours every night (always). The list/life goes on. 

I'm also nostalgic by nature. So I want to keep on documenting, keep on romanticising. If anything just to pay respect to the now. There's no end-goal; you live and then you die and while you live there are ups and downs and they are all important. 

(Pictures are from Harrison's Hot Springs a couple of weekends ago) 

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If The Sky Comes Falling Down For You, There's Nothing In This World I Wouldn't Do

Heya. It's been a while, I know.

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I guess I've lost myself a little bit. I don't know how to write anymore; I don't know how to start. Unintentional absence. My brain has been so mushy for the past two weeks; for obvious reasons such as PMS then bleeding. Surely there are some non-obvious reasons as well that I still have to figure out. I feel incredibly saddened by the death of Tim Bergling (Avicii). I grew up with his music, whether I wanted to or not, and his songs were enjoyed by everyone - not just house-music-fans. I remember my youth years in Santa Barbara, how we would always feel pride whenever his songs would play at clubs/parties. He was one of us; a Swede, yes, but also just a young guy with ambition and passion. Trying to make it outside our cold, Nordic country. Listening to his songs now makes me emotional; they're full of memories. Not just my memories, but I think most people have memories connected to his songs, whether they are house fans or not. 

Of course, his passing makes me think a lot about mental health, and physical health as well. It makes me think of the pressure young people are under, myself included. It reminds me again that this is all temporary. For someone who's had death anxiety since she was a kid, the notion that even "successful" people can die at a young age, way before they should've gone, scares me to no end. The thought of people all over the world, leaving us before they have experienced true happiness, calmness, contentedness, absolutely just breaks my heart. It's not dying that's scary, it's living without a purpose, it's living without joy. Always wishing things were different, perhaps always being scared. Always feeling like you're not living your life the way you really want to. 

What is success? Is it climbing the ladder? Being acknowledged and validated by a huge audience? Success looks different for all of us, sure. What is my version of success? I'm still reading Playing Big by Tara Mohr, I'm on the chapter where she talks about our Inner Mentor. The idea of the inner mentor is seeing yourself 20 years from now, who you really are, and take inspiration from that person in every decision you take. How can you move towards that person/life? It's such a life-changing book for me, that I'm reading it super slowly so I can really take it all in. This month has been all about thinking about the future, thinking of my Inner Mentor; where am I heading? How can I create personal success? How can I bring more joy into my life? This all mixed with fear that I'm always living in the future; I have no balance and I'm not enjoying the moment I'm in. Who said life was easy, right? 

I'll keep on blogging. I need to prioritize documentation, purely for the reason that my future self will want to see this life as well. I love reading through old posts; I want to create that same experience for my future self.

This post has been all over the place. I know it probably doesn't make sense, but neither does my thoughts at the moment so it is what it is!

Take care out there x 

philosophyEmma Carlsson
Contradicting Truths

If you look up flawed in the dictionary, you'll find my name, underlined. Maybe even in bold. I say flawed, because of synonyms such as "unsound, defective, faulty, distorted, inaccurate, incorrect, erroneous, imprecise, fallacious, misleading" + more. I say flawed because sometimes my own paradoxical way of living annoys me to no ends.

I feel broken, out of sync with the world and sometimes even myself. There are things I want to be doing, but I'm not doing them. There are things I love that I can't STAND. Does this make me special? Not really, I genuinely believe most humans are the same: we all have contradicting emotions/opinions. We're all underlined under flawed. Not many people talk about themselves and their struggles, though. Instead, we fill our feeds with success stories and seemingly happy-go-lucky people. We compare ourselves and come to the conclusion that there's something genuinely wrong with us. But we're all the same, really.

I'm trying to show up. For myself, mostly. Because the more growth I allow myself, the better I feel. It makes me a better human, friend, girlfriend, daughter, sister, etc. 

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Here's a list of things I struggle with at the moment: 

. Wherever I am is not where I want to be.

. I want to travel & explore, but I want to create a home & stability. 

. I want to be super-productive, do all the things & win the world over! But I also want to hide in a hut somewhere, live a quiet life with just my dog, the kettle and my Netflix account. 

. I want to be fierce, loud and opinionated! But I also want to be quiet, reserved and private. 

. I want to be a nutrition expert! To only eat vegan food! Only on a budget of like, $2 a day! But I also love "trashy" food. And big homecooked dinners. And fancy restaurants. I don't want to restrict myself to anything because I know only bad things come from restrictions. But I also don't trust myself when it comes to eating without any restrictions. I just wanna live, to eat what I want, when I want! But I also know that that's not what makes my body feel its best. 

. I want to wake up at 4.00AM and do work before everyone else, knowing my brain works the best in the morning! But I also want to sleep in, because I love late nights watching tv, being with people I love. It's when my brain rests and my heart does all the work. 

. I want kids, now. I want 20 dogs, now. A big house. But I also want to live in a trailer, just me and Andrew traveling.

. I want to work with film. Videomaking. I want to work with writing, books. I want to work with dogs! I want to work with photography. I want to work with children, as a teacher maybe! I want to work with anything other than what I'm working with right now. 

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The word balance. I hate it, because our lives rarely feel balanced! It's what we all strive for, at all times, but we rarely reach that balance. So why fight for the unattainable? Yet I do believe in striving for some sort of contentment. Contentment in the mess, in the contradictory. Contentment in who we are as people, being flawed. Being kind to people, but also being a bit of a prick to some. Being loveable, but also accepting that some people might not like the way you roll - simply put. Being productive, independent and creative, but also being a big needy slug who just wants to be taken care of without having to prove anyone anything. 

I guess that's where breathing comes in. Did you allow yourself to breathe today? It's still on my to-do list. But I'll get there! 

philosophyEmma Carlsson
The Patriarchy Will Fall (And Other Good News)
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Welcome, welcome first Monday of March! With every passing day it's getting warmer and brighter, and I can't tell you how much we all need it? Collectively? If you survived February without a hint seasonal affective disorder I need to congratulate you and tell you that you were one of the few lucky ones. For most people I know, this winter has been tough. As the world is growing smaller, I have a feeling we're more inclined to be absorbed by each other's sense of desolation. With more accessible information, we also now know more about ourselves (and others) than ever before: we're learning that our behavior could be a sign of something else. The realization makes us sad, as we go deeper into our wounds. It's not all bad, since in order to heal you need to realize that healing is what you need. Rather than being an endpoint, it's a start. 

Anyway.

Last night Andrew and I were watching the Oscars in front of our fake fireplace. How gorgeous was the set-design? I was blown away. Shape of Water might have deserved Best Film but Timothee Chalamet should've won Best Actor. This weekend was a good one; we walked on the beach, I got a job offer and we went to our first apartment viewing. I developed a cough, but apart from that, I was as happy as can be.

Earlier that day, we went to Canada Place to visit the Outdoor and Adventure convention, mainly to attend one of the photography workshops. It's amazing how photography is still so dominated by older men. What amazes me more is their confidence in their own art. If only women could let themselves feel the same pride in their art? The same self-respect? Imagine a world in where women all over are taking up space and being celebrated for it, in where they celebrate themselves for their own achievements (small or large). There's a quote by Swedish singer Lisa Ekdahl, which once translated goes something like this: "The patriarchy will fall, within your lifetime". Repeat it over and over again till it becomes the truth. 

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Shame
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What are you afraid of? What is it that you wish you could do if only you were "naturally talented" like them? If you only you had the required experience? The right type of background? If you were smarter, prettier, skinnier? What dream do you keep pushing away; what is it that you're saving, for later? And why is it that you believe that you can't get there right now, using what you have? 

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Mine is creating. Writing. Photographing. Filming. Showing up, presenting. It doesn't matter how much experience I have; it doesn't matter that I have a Masters Degree in Creative Media, that I have over 15 years of experience in writing + photographing + filming. I'm scared of sharing, because I feel shame. 

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It's shame that originates in many things. Mostly in my perfectionism, how if it's not the world's best (insert body of work here), then it's not worth anything. Nobody will like it, nobody will get any value from it. Why would I show you what I’ve done if I know that it could be better? 

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I experience shame when I compare my work and my attempts at showing up to present them with others. Everyone seem to have their stuff together. They all have a style that works for them, they have a niche. I'm all over the place, too multidimensional. I want to talk about x, but I also want to talk about y and z and sometimes all of them at the exact same time. Who would relate to all that mess? 

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It's probably too late, anyway. I'm wasting time (shame). I should focus on climbing the ladder instead. I should focus on becoming smaller, not bigger. God knows I don't need to get any bigger (shame). 

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I'm incredibly scared of criticism. Of not being in control (again, perfectionist) of how people interpret my work. Of it being available to everyone, and not a selected audience. What, is my work just suppose to be here, for you to judge? To laugh at? To diminish? 

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I rarely focus on the amount of people that would potentially enjoy and connect with my work. I focus on the few that would criticise it, who would tear it apart. These "few" individuals are all shaped from my own inner critic: they're born out of fear and shame within me. I believe they exist, because for so many years my inner critic has convinced me of their overwhelming existence, and importance. 

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I am trying to actively battle shame and fear. To show up, do the things, present them anyway. Brene Brown was and is an incredible motivator when it comes to these subjects, and I'm always looking for more role models to add to my collection. 

I have finally picked up Playing Big by Tara Mohr. It's a gift from myself to myself. Tara Mohr was a guest on Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker and they were talking about Mohr's idea of our inner mentor. How our inner mentor is there to fight our inner critic. 

Your inner mentor is basically you, in the future. How do you imagine yourself in 10 years, what are you doing, where are you in life? What advice would you give your younger self? And for your present self, how can you grow towards her

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I haven't finished Playing Big yet, I just started. But I can't wait to explore more and continue to convince myself to just keep going. 

For now, here's a short list of things I do whenever my inner critic takes over: 

1. Remind myself that I'm always learning and growing. That learning is essential, and that I can't grow if I don't keep on going. 
2. Investigate someone I look up to; explore what they published before they publish the outstanding content that I see right now. Rest assure they all started off somewhere very similar to the place I'm in. The only reason they grew into who they are today, is because (again) they kept at it. 
3. Listen to something by Brene Brown again, or Hashtag Authentic (podcast), or one of my favourite podcast episodes of all time "Show up as if you're already where you want to be" from Make it Happen (podcast) by Jen Carrington. 

Psst, all these images are from Stanley Park. 

 

Anti-Capitalist Love Notes
Source:  Etsy  

Source: Etsy 

Happy Valentine's day! Let's talk about me instead of love for a minute. 

Ever since I first saw this ANTI-CAPITALIST LOVE NOTE it's been on my mind. Its message is something I remind myself quite often as I have to. It's on my mind now, when me and Andrew have trouble sleeping / talking to family members / surviving without going crazy as we try to make our way through the cannibalistic jungle that is job hunting. 

The goal has always been to get away from all that. From all this. From writing cover letters (convincing you that I want this job for your company's sake and not for my own?) and doing group interviews (competing for a low paying job that you don't really want?). The goal has always been to become more and more free from the system that we're all forced to align with in order to survive. Living in a capitalistic society is demanding, and I'd say it's almost impossible to not have to adjust your life accordingly in some shape or form no matter how "free" you are. I accept it, and I try my hardest to not feel guilt or shame when I fall for what they want me to fall for. This valentine's day I'm therefore trying to celebrate me - with AND without my achievements. 

Job hunting is tough; I knew it would be. It always is. One week unemployed feels like one month. No matter how much work you do, how many people you reach out to, you're always gonna feel like you could've done more. There's a lot of comparison going on: how did that person make it? What am I doing wrong? I am probably not worthy / not as good / not as suitable. My merits don't measure!

Enter: The Imposter Syndrome! Which I won't write more about here because we all (probably) knows what it means. 

Source:  Medium

Source: Medium

Newsflash / reminder to self: you are just as worthy, you are just as talented, intelligent, kind, and brave. You are able to create your own life. You have the power to take control and to let go. Your creativity matches your peers (and yes, they are your peers and not some almighty beings living in another dimension), it might just be different and different is okay. 

Newsflash / reminder to self 2: know that your value doesn't come from your productivity / your work anyway. Know that you are worth a sick day even though you don't have a job, or it was just the weekend. Know that you are allowed time to take care of yourself. You deserve kindness, respect, and love even though you didn't produce anything today. 

Newsflash / reminder to self 3: everyone is doing the best that they can with the resources and abilities they have at any given time. This applies to you, too. There is not some superwoman inside of you waiting to emerge who are more worthy. There is no such thing as "if only I did this or that then I too would be deserving" - you are deserving as you are. Flaws and all. 

(Sidetrack: and wasn't this why Ladybird is such a relevant and intimate film? Because we have all felt exactly like Ladybird standing outside the dressing room asking her mom if she likes her, just as she is? Without improving even the slightest?) 

(an old picture of us. for a couple that enjoys shooting both videos and photos there are surprisingly little footage of us)

(an old picture of us. for a couple that enjoys shooting both videos and photos there are surprisingly little footage of us)

To conclude: I am incredibly lucky to have someone who loves me exactly as I am. It's almost bizarre how little I have to do in order for him to see the magic in me. My goal is to feel the exact same way towards myself: to be in love with myself. Not just on the days when I've achieved something or "proved" to society that I'm a serviceable human, but also on days when I don't do much at all except practicing kindness. I hope on this valentine's day, or any given Tuesday (or Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday) you let go of comparison and the destructing belief that your life would be better if only you had x, y, and z. Treat Valentine's Day as a day where you allow yourself to take extra good care of yourself and love yourself as much as you love others + others love you.

philosophyEmma Carlsson
Homesick: Corners Of The World We Long To Return To
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Weddings. Funerals. End of the school year celebrations. This church has played such a central part of my life.

When I was younger I swore to get away, to escape this hole of a town. When I was even younger than that, I thought that the whole world existed of only this; of the lake and the surrounding valleys. That if you climbed up over the hill, you'd fall over into the abyss of space. This was it; this was where life happened. Now I'm of a different opinion, again. I lived away for many years, and every time I return for a visit it's harder to leave. 

I swore to never marry or to celebrate anything in that church. Now the sight of the grand white building makes my heart sing of longing. Not for marriage, but for life here. It's so cliche; to leave a place despising it because you're young and you want more for life, only to later in life wanting to go back. To find beauty in the old, in the familiar. To realize that you've explored so many corners of the world, except your own. 

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I've seen many churches, but nothing compares to the lighthouse-like church in my hometown. Calling its men and women back from the waves and valleys. Someday I will return, most likely in the near future. Perhaps I won't settle down right here, perhaps I'll find my own little corner. But it will be in close proximity of life here, so that my future children can celebrate this place just as I did growing up. When life is hard living in other places in the world, I consider myself so lucky to have this place to always return to.