Category Archives: Musings

On being energetic

I’ve always been a pretty energetic person. Sunny disposition, optimist; shining when out and about.

This doesn’t directly reflect my inside, it’s probably quite the opposite. In order to be able to leave the house I would have to pump myself up, to be happy and energetic. I’d have to make sure I could exude this energy all day, or weekend if it was a conference or such. I did the same thing when I had a job, I also loved all the jobs I’ve had. But they’ve been short, because this kind of pumped up energy isn’t sustainable.

Today I’m at home, and the work I do is from home, the mere thought of working in an office is incredibly uncomfortable to me. I think it’s because I’ve eventually learnt that, as I said, that level of energy isn’t sustainable for me anymore. In the past I thought it was, but it isn’t.

If you wonder why you’re so energetic at work, but at 0 energy when you’re at home, maybe this will help you to think about. It may be worth looking at how to make going up work sustainable, instead of slowly burning yourself out.

Drafts—Journaling

I love em, and I hate em. You make so many of them because you have an idea you just have to jot down. And I fucking hate it.

I’m considering replacing drafting with just plain journaling, but I love writing by hand, which sometimes’ way too slow. I’ve also considered making use of my recorder again, a digital one I bought years ago, just before smartphones broke through…

I don’t think any of this will change, I do however want to squeeze in some time here and there to write, and maybe get somewhere with those drafts.

This makes me think about how fleeting digital journaling is, as we leave sites, where we used to write blog posts (Swedish people may recognize places such as Lunarstorm and Helgon), where I wrote a lot in my youth. Both those places are completely (at least my related accounts) gone now. I’m not sure if there’s any real loss in that, it’s just interesting.

I guess time will tell. That said, I’ve started publishing a bit on Medium, and I have a poetry/writing related Mastodon account now, you are very welcome to follow both of those. Not all posts will make it to Medium, and not everything writing related will make it off the draft/follow only stage on Mastodon. and I like to keep it that way.


Racism–A Swedish perspective

While I say a Swedish perspective, I only mean me, and my relationship with racism as a Swedish person.

After a lot of the recent days’ discussions (back in January) about race, racism, and whiteness got me thinking, especially since most of the conversation was from an American perspective. That perspective doesn’t apply to me, not entirely, but there’s an assumption that my relationship to my being white ought to be the same as an American white person. Now, I’m aware that whiteness and being white is two different things, as whiteness is an ideology about supremacy.

While this post intended to reflect on whiteness, I find that I didn’t do that this time, so I hope to follow up with another post when I get those thoughts back on track, here follows a post about racism and the n-word in Sweden:

First, I want to talk about one angle of the Swedish perspective, which is about the N-word. In the USA this word is a lot worse, because of its history there. Not because the rest of us don’t have racism, but because of how the word was used. This means that if you engage with people who are not from the USA they are unlikely to understand just how strong that negative connotation is, they might not understand why its a big no-no to say it.

In Swedish, in my experience, I’m still be able to talk about why we don’t say the N-word while saying the word. I’d be able to quote it as well. My friend disagreed with me on this point, that we’re moving towards dashing it out in Swedish too (N-ordet). In (US) American culture that’s a huge faux pas to say it in full, and understandably so. I believe even Trevor Noah, who’s from South Africa, says in Son of Patricia that in their culture the N-word doesn’t have the same affect as in America.

The point I’m trying to make here is that we need to take into account, in intercultural communication, am I speaking with someone from another culture? Would this word be harmful if uttered? Would this question carry negative connotations? We can’t always know until we experience it, or learn from someone else’s mistake.

What’s the Swedish history with the n-word? The Swedish equivalent was also used for people with dark skin, and we had also named a bakery goods after it which was a chocolate ball that we called “N-ball”. Some people (racists) are still upset with not being allowed to say that anymore, but honestly they are the ones being overly sensitive (as the argument goes), not the people who realized why changing it would be the better option, and continued just calling it chocolate balls.

Second, I’m very aware that I’ve been brought up and educated in order to uphold the status quo, but I didn’t really learn this awareness until just in the past year or two, and I’m 32. It’s not because I’ve been willing to uphold it, but rather that I’ve been fighting other battles and not really had any PoC around me online or offline who’ve ever been in a position to have a conversation about race with me. And no, this is not me saying someone should’ve educated me. It’s also strongly connected with, as Macintosh writes, “I was taught to see racism as individual acts of meanness, not systemic violence”. In those terms I was not racist.

As I learnt about systemic racism, and have come to accept that yes I’ve been, and still am, racist, and I’m starting to understand that in order to fight racism, being “nice” isn’t enough. Today I am working on being actively anti-racist, within my means. I know I can’t take every fight, but I’m working on taking more fights.

To continue on a point I mentioned above, I recently had a conversation with an old friend, and I said to her “Now that I’ve learnt to understand that racism isn’t individual acts of meanness, but a systemic problem…” and as I finish that word I see her jaw drop. What? “Yes, I know. I know. That’s how I felt too.” It is not within our frame of reference / knowledge that racism is systemic, because the system doesn’t want us to see it. So we have to help each other and teach each other that it’s more than that, if you’re white, it means teaching your white friends why racism is more than just being “mean”.

“From the (study of) psychology and through our own experiences we know how difficult it can be as a grownup to free ourselves from the values we’ve been taught as children. The way your own culture raised you will keep a grip on you through your entire life, even if it in some contexts lessens its grip”

Kulturgrammatik, Herlitz , page 44

Third, are Swedish people as a whole racist? Heck yes. I actually live in a region of Sweden which has the most people who vote of the Swedish democrats (our right wing party), but I live in the most multicultural city in all of Sweden. We experience a stark contrast here, which is interesting to reflect on and interesting to live in.

We are in fact, as I mentioned about my own experiences, so blinded to racism, that we don’t think we have it, just like we don’t talk about class, “there’s no class divide”, when in truth there is, in both cases.

We are the country which absolutely abhors certain types of jobs, and rather have other people immigrate to take those jobs (Finnish people did it, Polish people did it, etc etc.). And then complain about people immigrating and taking our jobs. No, you don’t want those jobs in the first place, which opens up a market for others to do them.

You can’t fight something before you know what it is and before you have words for it. Today I’m trying to help you find words for it, and I will finalize with this quote from another conversation today:

You may have been taught that racism is “individual acts of meanness”, it is not. Racism is systemic and a frame for oppression.

That feelings you’re having right now is not someone oppressing you. I’m sorry you feel that way, but that’s not racism.

Racism occurs when there’s POWER behind actions, there isn’t when any oppressed group is kicking up.

Only way to be anti-racist is to actively acknowledge that you are racist and that you are benefiting from a racist system, and then begin to actively fight that systemic oppression.

What you have done thus far in this thread is show that you are indeed racist, and enjoying the benefits of your privilege, refusing to realize that when people talk about “white” and “whiteness” it isn’t about you, and it isn’t racism. You’re reacting to it by kicking up a storm, making it ABOUT YOU and your feelings.

Marie Axelsson, on Facebook 2019-02-16

Thank you for reading.


If you enjoyed this little article of musings, and would like me to be able to write them more, feel free to head over my patreon and check out the tiers there, $1 can go a long way! 
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Listen to your body

This is always going to be the hard part isn’t it. To listen to your body when there are things that you need to do, but you are in pain.

Today is one of those days, as you know yesterday I hurt my arm and now I’m sitting right here trying to decide between studying and writing an exam tomorrow, and resting so I can heal. I know what the the response should be, it should be resting. Yet here I am battling my own feelings and the pain, and the want to complete the exam tomorrow.

Every time I think that I’m doing a little bit better, I move my arm and I realize that I’m still in pain. I did call the Care Center this morning, no I cannot call the doctor. The Care Center told me that there’s nothing they can do because there’s nothing sticking out and nothing seems to be in the wrong place. They told me to just take a painkiller, well take full dose painkillers for a few days and hope it dies down. They also told me that they cannot give me any paper saying that I hurt myself so I cannot take the exam. I have a feeling that this will affect my student loan, I may not get one for the next term. However as soon as I catch up on the points that are missing it should be fine. But I’m missing things from more than one course so I’ll need to look at each assignment squeeze them in to get the points and then send the additional information when I send in my application.

Again I’m writing this blog post by speaking to my phone. It helps me get some thoughts out of my head, and it helps me accept that I should not try to do the exam tomorrow. Maybe I shouldn’t write this as a public post, maybe there’s a risk that I’ll get it held against me. But honestly I don’t really care. I want to share with you all because it just helps.

So it is with a heavy heart and a really heavy, painful arm that I’m going to admit to myself that I need to take tomorrow off. I have started to look and things that will help make my studying easier in the spring, so at least I got that going for me. It won’t help me right this moment but it does help to know that I to make everything a little bit easier for me in the future

I guess I could just keep talking with you forever, so weird. I never saw myself as a vlogger even though that idea appealed to me. This is kind of like vlogging but without the video and without the voice. I’m used to seeing my voice get turned into text on the screen. It’s kind of poetic when you think of it. And I like that I’m finding ways around my problems that I can still share ideas and thoughts with you guys on a day like this.

But now I’m going to rest, because I deserve it and I’ll just keep studying a little bit every day until the reexam.

Google voice typing

I’m going to try to write a blog post with voice. Basically I missed a step on the stairs today which meant that I pulled my arm and it’s now really really hurting and it’s my writing arm which means that I can’t write cuz it hurts.

I know that Google has the feature to write for me when I’m talking, so I’m trying that out today. I’ve been considering dictating blog posts in the past but it has just never come around to try it out so I guess today is a prime time to do so.

Even writing the full stops and the new lines is really helping me think about how I’m writing these sentences. I am however not comfortable knowing when to use a comma. I mean I know how to use a comma when I’m writing but remembering to say it the right way at the right time it’s not really the same thing as taking a deep breath to add that in your text. It is quite different.

I tried to ice my arm but it feels like it made it worse or it got worse because I iced my arm while reading so I was still holding the book which put a bit more strain on it. It’s very typical of me to try and rest but do things I shouldn’t do when I need to rest, oh well.

I think this turned out pretty well maybe I can do it again in the future sometime maybe sitting outside and watching The Birds getting some sun on my face while writing an interesting blog post. who knows, you will if you stay tuned. thank you for reading and see you next time, wait read next time.


Photo by Marie Axelsson (me), cc-by-sa.


Patreon

Ages of Change

Dear friends who are 30 and over, what have you enjoyed about your current age? (30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s etc.)

For me my late 20s and early 30s were revolutionary. Simply because I lost the ability to speak, think, write and a lot of memories. My mind shut down and I had some catching up to do, with rest. I had to reboot so to speak.

I lost a lot of memories, mostly about arguments which were pointless. I gained perspective about what’s important to me. And because I’m not fully well yet, I’m still looking at life quite differently. I can’t put exact words to it, I will try though.

Losing memories meant that I wasn’t holding a lot of grudges anymore, and that liberated me entirely. I got a chance to restart with people who wanted to (mostly if they came to me, because I wouldn’t really remember). I could sometimes remember the events, but not the people involved. Which was… Strange, but I got through it.

I found solace in not holding grudges though, and I still forget a lot of stuff, which means if we have a fallout I’m likely to forget. The details at least, which also can be detrimental. I get that. But for my own mental health, it works. It helps me let go and move on. I get that’s not always possible for everyone…

I’ve also learnt that we have to take on our struggles and battles differently. Just because it works for me, doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. Yes, I do preach forgiveness a lot. Because it’s right for me, and liberating. I try to preach less though, since I know it’s not right for everyone, as I already said. Processing hurt, and struggles is going to be different for everyone, which is also something I’ve come to understand.

I’m only 3 years into my 30s, and even if it’s been a struggle it’s also been a hell of a ride, which I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Have you learnt something about yourself?

Did your life change somehow?


If you enjoyed this little article of musings, and would like me to be able to write them more, feel free to head over my patreon and check out the tiers there, $1 can go a long way! 
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Featured image: Change, by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 

Writing and stuff in the New Year

Stuff, such a good word.

This year I have a few things I want to do, one of them is write more. So here I am, on Jan 1st, writing.

I asked the community on #amWriting if they wanted to help support each other, and so many people chimed in. With both big and small writing projects. Some want to write whole novels, some just a few lines every day.

As most of you know I’m baby stepping through a lot of things in my life, so my writing will be both on here and for uni, because I can’t max out in writing everywhere. But that’s fine. I’m learning my limits and working to live within them in a healthy way, and sometimes stretching them, but that’s a post for another day.

The way this blog has worked in the past year is to mostly contain my musings, which haven’t been written down too often. I’m looking at a new routine to squeeze in writing. Basically a small session after breakfast, while having had breakfast with reading. The good thing about this combo is that reading can trigger thoughts, and I can write them down.

There are other things that I want to write this year, one is my Creative Writing Project for university (basically a BA in creative writing). I’ve decided on what I want to write and it’s going to be poetry, about my grandmother. I’ve shared my project statement draft on patreon, for patrons only, as I don’t want to get in trouble with class if I share too early.

Me and Loa are also looking into doing more with our gaming blog / channels. While he is focusing on video, I want to keep writing and probably do small reviews of games I play this year. That blog has been stagnant since I moved it to a new host, a year ago. We’ve not even updated the theme to something other than default.

What are you writing this year?

Dear Men*

For anyone reading this here are some content warnings: rape (mentioned / referenced), Non-consent, toxic masculinity.

* Your instinct before even reading this article is going to be to say #NotAllMen. There’s a lot of ways to say it, so I’m here to challenge you. Are you up for the challenge? If not, stop reading now.

Instead of saying #NotAllMen, just read through what we’re trying to say. There’s emotional labor involved here, emotional labor required by you. You have to do it. Feel free to take help from some friends, but try to give them a neutral entry to the article, text, tweet/toot, video you’d like to discuss, to not pre color their response.

Since emotional labor is difficult, especially when you’ve barely learnt anything about it, but only received tips to repress it your entire life I want to present to you with a simple guide. Again, this will only work if you’re willing to try, and it will probably be a disaster the first time you do it, which is why I’m going to recommend that you either keep it to yourself or share it with someone you trust.

In this case I’d suggest prefacing it with something like: “I’m practicing to not react instinctively to these texts women/POC share of their experiences, but rather reflect on what it triggers in me so I can understand myself, and become a better person. Would you mind having a conversation with me about what I came up with the first time I tried this specific technique I got recommended?” what’s key here is that you’re asking for consent before you offload your emotional burden on someone else, if they don’t feel they have time or energy give them that. As in, don’t press it, and don’t be an ass about it.

The next few things you need to do for your self before you share it with anyone else. Pick an article you’ve already read recently that you reacted strongly to where you wanted to scream at the screen “not me I’m not like this, not all men are like this” (or something similar, you know the bubbly rage I’m talking about). It’s important to note here that this kind of trigger is not the same as a PTSD trigger. But rather it’s a an event which leads to another, like pressing a button will turn the lights on. Except you see red. Okay, let’s carry on.

So, you’ve found an article, which you probably shared on your Facebook or Twitter with some snide remark, or in that “men’s club” Facebook group you have with your close pals. Yes, we know about those, yes even your friends girlfriend and wives, they definitely know everything you say about them in there, but that’s an article for another day.

Identify what is making you feel like you want to scream ‘not all men, not me!’ Done? Oh yeah, I should probably say, identify it by reading the article again. And wait for that pang in your chest. Or the moment when you want to share it with someone else to tell them what a complete idiot the author of the piece is, or when you want to look up articles to prove this author wrong (not all need apply, and it can be several or non of these, but I think you get the gist).

Now look at it again, what in you is making you scared, fearful and uncomfortable?

Are you afraid?

Would you admit fear?

Let me guide you with three questions about what you are feeling, feel free to go back to these at any time and add additional questions which help you (even leave them in the comments if you like):

  • Are you afraid that this (described behavior) is you?
  • Are you afraid that you’ve done this to someone you actually cared about because you did not know how to express yourself otherwise?
  • Are you afraid that your friends will shun you if they find out? That your girlfriend will break up with you if you tell her about that one time you didn’t respect consent (or didn’t understand it yet?, or something else along these lines)

Yes, these questions are focused on fear, because I genuinely believe this is the main driving response to these kind of texts. However, it is completely valid if you identify other root emotions, in your journey.

The things you tell us when you comment directly to us are usually along the lines of “not me nor any of my friends have ever done any of these behaviors or anything which could lead to it”. Yet, as we know “everyone knows someone who’s been raped but no one knows a rapist.”

We as a society is not really taught to reflect upon our own reactions and emotions. Why did this make me mad? Surprisingly often it’s fear.

I’m not here to change your mind, but I believe you’ve read this far because you want to change your mind, or you would’ve done some of the things I already mentioned being a typical behavior as reactions to these kind of texts.

Remember that it’s a journey, and you’re likely to fuck up a few hundred times more, but if you use every single one of them as an chance and opportunity to grow, and learn something about yourself you will soon be rich in experiences and be able to help someone else.


If you enjoyed this little article of musings, and would like me to be able to write them more, feel free to head over my patreon and check out the tiers there, $1 can go a long way!
alternatively, check out my support page for more info.

What a day can look like

I wanted to frame it as mental health, but there’s so much more than that. The states I live with are not only mental health, sometimes it’s physical, sometimes it’s a combination. What comes with it is a lot of exhaustion, the mental exhaustion which manifests physically. The mental warnings, which then give physical warnings. When you don’t listen to those warnings the big pain comes, and the complete and utter loss for words, literally.

As I get exhausted I lose words, which I guess is ironic when I’m writing these words now, on one of those days. But if I were to have a conversation with my partner I’d not know what a frying pan is called, or not remember what day it is. I think it’s Tuesday today, but I only know that because I’m home from my Tuesday class today.

Fabulous Femme posed against a white pillar, looking into the camera. The natural light from the window lights her up. Wearing a grey dress with long sleeves, hair up.
Just one of those days.

The image above shows what I looked like today when I could not leave the house. Well, that’s not entirely true, I did leave the house. I left the apartment, went down to my bike, but I could not touch or unlock my bike.

– Bahumbug, that’s ridicilous, what do you mean you couldn’t even touch your bike? You were right there, outside, fully dressed, back packed, breakfast eaten, and you couldn’t? Why not?

I am not sure why not. But let me tell you some of the process which led me to not leaving.

First, I woke up still exhausted, after 8hrs of sleep. Every limb was very heavy. On those days I use my phone to help me wake up, I will read until my mind is a bit more functional, so any social media like Twitter or Mastodon is usually a go, find people’s morning chirps and toots, or articles.
I wanted to go to a creative writing reading today at uni, I knew my friends were going. I reached out and said “I want to join you, but I don’t think I have the energy”.
With my phone in bed I felt the sore shoulder blades still hating me, from the arm I pulled the other day, when trying to finalize my written take-home exam (which I couldn’t finished because my body physically told me stop).

Second, I did get up, and I was like “Okay I can do this, I’ll be a little late, but I’ll just get dressed, eat and go.” So, I got dressed, as you can see in the image above, I packed my bag, and I felt like I could do it, I even felt like I looked nice today. I plugged in my headphones, started listening to the audiobook, which usually helps distract me enough to leave as well.

Third, I’m fully dressed with hoodie, scarf, hat, and coat. I go down the elevator, and as I reach the entry-hall, and go towards the door, I start walking slower. I open the door, and tell myself, just make it out to the bike and you’ll be okay. I see the rain, the wet water on the seats. And I stop in my tracks.

No.

“I’m just going to go in.” I turn around. “But I’ve made it so far.” I turn back around towards the bike again. “I really don’t want to get on the bike, okay if I’m not going to go to school I’ll just take a walk” I start walking out towards the street to walk. I stop again, just under the building. “If I’m going for a walk, I could just as well make it to school.” I turn around to the bike again, and walk there. Still not touching the bike. “I… can’t”. I turn around, and decide to go inside. I check the mail. The box is empty except for a newspaper. I go outside again. “…” I turn around, and go in to the elevator. I do not hit the button. I lean my head against the wall, and try to tell myself that “it’s okay to go, it’ll be okay, it’s fine, you can do it, it’s just 2hrs, it’s fine once you get there, you know this” I step out to the bike again. A few steps closer. I go back in, into the elevator, and up to our floor. Each step down the hall “I can still turn around and go to school, I can do it.”

After going back in, admitting to my partner that I couldn’t go, but at least I tried. I feel relieved. Like always, as soon as I say “It’s okay to not go” I feel like I probably could’ve gone, but trying again would be stupid.

I message my class mates that I, yet again, couldn’t make it to class. And I think about how I’m dressed, how pretty I look, and how no one would’ve been the wiser if I had gone. No one would’ve seen the struggles on me.

But you, who’ve read this text, who’ve felt these days yourself, you can probably see it in my eyes when you look at the photo. Because I can, I can see the pain right there. Behind what’s not really even a smile.

Writing seamlessly

Or so I thought. Running the app was helping me a lot it write, but now it won’t publish, or upload drafts and I’m unsure if why. 

I will keep investigating it to figure out what I can do, as I miss having this easy way of publishing. I’ve set up an alternative, which will hopefully help a little, but it’s not the same. Maybe I’m just whiney. 

Hi, I am still around and I still want to write, I’ve just been exhausted, am still exhausted. I’ll give you all a better update eventually. 

Take care of yourselves and each other in the meanwhile.

Edit: apparently it’s working now, and there’s only one blog post, which I’ve deleted that fails to upload, makes sense