I Have Unpopular Opinions.

This is one of those blog posts I make half for cathartic release and half to see just who is fooling around on GFC and follows me for no particular reason (blogs like this usually make them unfollow.) I swear it's not in me to provoke people into hating me.  It just happens naturally once they learn more about me.  I'm sure many of you feel the same way.  I'm learning to be proud of who I am and that doesn't just include the nice pretty bits.  So read on to hear my take on some popular subjects--with my not-so-popular viewpoints.

 On Feminism: Feminism has been gaining a lot of ground in the past year or so.  It's plastered proudly all over tumblr and other blogging platforms.   It's like a third women's movement out there in internet-land.  First was the fight to vote, then the fight to ...burn bras? in the 70's....and now is the fight to....burn bras again.  No, but seriously.  Feminism creeps around under this guise of "equality" when pointing out a substantial difference in people couldn't be farther from equality.  Kind of like how "Black History Month" is kind of more racist than equal.  It bothers me when so-called feminists are suckered into this "movement" for equality purposes.  It's just like the big religions that say they're peaceful and loving, when all you have to do is pick up a holy text and see how damaging and prejudice they are.  Feminism favors women, and either dictates that the woman should be in charge, or everyoen is being punished for being a woman.  As though women are all these damaged and destroyed and set-up-for-failure lemmings just thrust into society.  It's completely asinine.

The thing is, you can't define feminism.  Everyone wants to call it something different, from the Nazi Feminists (man haters) on down to the lipstick-wearing stay at home mom feminists.  Put them together and they'd argue each other into oblivion.  And I don't believe in gender stereotyping.  What makes someone feminine? Is it having a vagina? Sexuality is so much more than male or female.  It's not black and white, there's a whole huge gray spectrum that gets shoved aside for these media-whoring "women's issues" or "men's issues."  Jesus Christ, no one is special for their vagina or lack of a vagina.  It doesn't make you born into oppression on its own and it doesn't give you privilege either way.  And a lot of women want to act like they're revolutionaries because they blog half-naked pics of themselves or draw themselves with leg hair.  Congratulations.  You're very special.  Now can you get over the fixation of this feminist trend and start treating everyone like the same fucking genetic makeup we all are?

On Happiness Being Simple: Only if you're a moron.  Life is hard, for everybody.  It's harder for some than others, but since we only live one life inside our own minds it's very hard to compare anyone's pain to ours.  The point is, we have a lot of bad shit happen and due to mental disorders as well as physical illnesses, shitty life situations, bad marriages/parents, and so on....we can become quite traumatized and unable to be happy.  These rejects that preach about simple peace and that it's not so complicated....fuck you, yes it is.  That's part of the very bittersweet and enigmatic beauty of life.  Nobody ever lives in a place of quiet mental sanctity where the simplest delights go appreciated and the daily worries go ignored.  It's not how we function, especially the intellectuals--who more often than not are more tortured than general society.  You can't tell someone who has manic depressive disorder to "cheer up and find happiness" any more than you can tell a brick wall to turn into a bouquet of flowers that smell nice.  It's just one of those notions that really annoys me because life isnt' easy, nobody said it was easy, nobody believes that it's easy, and nothing worth having is probably easy.  I'm not saying you can't find the occasional wonderful moment in solitude or a baby's smile.  I'm saying that you can't permanently exist in some chilled-out ultra happy life is perfect zone, at least not without heavy drugs.  And that's okay.  When are people going to realize that's okay? When are they going to stop pretending or aiming for this idiotic lower level of consciousness and think that it's feasible? Or that if you can't reach it, something is wrong with you?

On How We Ingest/Breathe Total Shit Every Day.  I used to be very bothered by the ingredients in food and medicine.  I used to be actively against certain deadly ingredients (aspartame as an example) and when people wouldn't get as outraged as me, I would get pissed off.  Don't people care about their health? Don't they want to use this one body the right way? Then I realized something: there are seven billion people on earth.  We could stand to lose a few.  I feel that this is the opinion that's the most unpopular--maybe not with all that anti-feminist preaching, but it comes close--but I don't really care.  I put good stuff into my body and I make sure that those I care about are at least educated.  The internet and new information about toxins in the world and in everything you put on your face, in your mouth, on your body, etc...is everywhere out there and if people want to research it, more power to them.  Hell yeah.  But for the Diet Coke addicts and all those chaps who will end up with colorectal cancer in ten years from eating McDonald's every day: what do you want me to do? How am I supposed to take responsibility for anybody else?

On Tolerating Religion: I won't do it anymore.  I used to think that I was just an atheist and someone very respectful of personal beliefs, but now I realize I am a staunch anti-theist.  I believe that religion is harmful and akin to child abuse if used in homes.  It took one of my close friends being caught masturbating by his mom and sent to a "porn addiction" group for years and identifying himself as an "addict" when I'm more addicted to potato chips than he is porn---for me to get really enraged.  This shit has got to stop.  Families should never force their children into any belief system other than the basic moral and law that governs basic human decency.  Creationism should be banned from schools, and churches should NOT be tax-exempt under any circumstances.  I am still shocked that it's 2013 and politicians--LAWMAKERS!!!!--are allowed to sit and fucking argue over uteruses.  I mean goddamn, really? Can you go fixate on something else? Maybe regulate some of that aspartame I talked about in the previous paragraph.

On Positivism: We are taught that being positive yields results in ways that can only benefit us.  After years of trying and failing with this method, I've finally accepted that I am a negative person, and more people than want to admit it are also negative people, and there's nothing wrong with that at all.  Negativity gets shit done too.  I don't care to be positive and it's another thing I think is highly overrated and misplaced in society (like religion and feminism.)  I am just as capable of loving, receiving love, creating, adventuring, philosophizing, and enjoying life in general through mud-colored glasses as I am with rose-colored ones.

There, hope you enjoyed my unpopular opinions!

March Vacation + Meet Henri!

March turned out to be a great month for one simple reason: vacation! My boss and family left for Rome a little less than two weeks ago, and I stayed behind to have some alone time, take care of the animals, and have a vacation of my own.  The first weekend didn't go as well as I'd hoped; some friends and I took a weekend cruise to Riga, an island in Latvia, and the cruise was really stressful for me.  I was constantly seasick, I was nursing a headache from a concussion (I slipped on the ice) and I drank entirely too much alcohol.  It was also cold and I had an ear infection so as you can imagine...not much relaxation!

This past weekend went MUCH better.  Henri and I booked a weekend at the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, a 'Romantic booking' complete with bottle of champagne, a couples' massage, and dinner at the hotel's diner.  It was exquisite.  Everything about the stay was relaxing, and with our massage we got to take a dip in the pool and sit in the sauna AND a steam sauna! (My favorite. Henri wasn't thrilled with it.)  The pool opened up onto an overlook, so it was officially the fanciest pool I've ever swam in.  Dinner was delicious, too...and the hotel had a great breakfast the next morning.  I think both Henri and I really needed the pampering and solitude.

Saturday was fun as well; I met Henri's mom, who is officially the most adorable and wonderful woman ever.  (The kind of mom who has like six tons of baby photos of Henri that I got to squeal at and look through.)  She made us reindeer meat for lunch, and we had pie with homegrown and handpicked berries after.  Mmmm, Sweden.  After we had lunch and I cooed over Henri's baby pics and his mom's two cats, we decided to go snooping around a bit in Gamla Stan, Stockholm's prime tourist location.  I really love that Henri never gets tired of spending time doing touristy things with me in Sweden despite living here.

 We had so much fun digging through antiques and drinking super hip trendy gay coffee. One really great find was a small pocket almanac dated 1939 that had, in old cursive Swedish, "Sept 1 Germany and Poland have gone to war."  I can only imagine what it must have felt like writing that...if the writer had any clue or premonition about what was to come.  Things like that definitely make me understand and appreciate why people collect antiques.  Anyway, I can't wait for spring to REALLY get here...I can only imagine how beautiful Stockholm will become. And after we were done touristing, Henri and I met up with our mutual friend Frida, for some Finnish karaoke night at a local bar.  It was for lack of a better word, horrible and hilarious and wonderful.  A great way to finish up a great weekend.

I've mentioned Henri a lot on this blog, but I haven't really spoken about how we met or started dating.  It's a probably uneventful story, but it was actually through Frida, our mutual friend, that we met.  He knew her for years before I did; when I was in Sweden of March 2012 visiting, Frida and I spent time together and she told Henri about me.  Henri was curious (who wouldn't be, I mean look at me) and wanted us to all meet together, but I got sick the same weekend I left for America and couldn't make it out for drinks.  When I returned to America I looked up Henri on Frida's facebook and messaged him, apologizing for my flakiness. 

We started talking on an almost daily basis after that.  We both liked Fallout, ambient music, guns, and politically incorrect humor.  Sometimes we skyped and other times we just messaged each other, but we never ran out of things to say.  We were also strictly friends, going through our own romantic endeavors independently (and I through separation, which was a huge deal of course.)  I liked Henri a lot, he was a great listener and always someone I could count on even if it was just for a joke or to vent to when I was having a bad day.  So naturally we were excited to meet once I came to Sweden to visit.

From then, things just happened...well....naturally.  He's just as easy to talk to in person, even funnier to be around, and we still never run out of things to say or do.  I have so much respect for Henri and the way he lives his life, and I always want to be around him or, as girlfriends like to do, smother him to death until he runs away screaming.  We went on our first date right after Christmas, spent New Year's Eve together , become an 'official' couple in January, and spend most weekends together now.  He's 2 hours away from me, which makes us a technical long distance relationship, but it's still the closest I've lived to a boyfriend since I was like 18.  And we still talk every day.  


Self Love Post: Recent Successes.

Here we are, new week, new revelations!  
Shockingly, these are positive ones. 
I feel like I am all gloom and doom on this blog a lot, so, here you half-full people go.

My Realization This Week

When I first started this whole thing I had no idea where to begin.  I just knew I needed to learn to appreciate myself.  To stop with the hatred.  It was killing my creativity and life force like bad weeds choking the flowers out of a garden.  So in the beginning it was just a simple goal.  Follow-up proved both hopeful and depressing....lots of people who used to have bad self-esteem (my boss and my boyfriend being two of them, and they're two people I really admire) now have great self-esteem.  Changing one's idea of oneself is doable.  But the how was a little harder to run across....everything just says "love yourself!"  "Learn to love yourself!" "Tell yourself you're wonderful!" 

So I tried that for awhile.  It didn't work so well.  I realized the error about a week ago.  You can't just parrot through things that you don't think are true.  Well, most people can't, anyway.  I likened it to my atheism.  It'd be just as easy for me to say "God is real and church is good and religion is a nice thing to have in my life" and believe it.  (I don't believe any of those things obviously.)  What good does parroting positive thoughts about oneself do if that's all it is--empty words? It did stop the flow of hate words, which maybe was my first success.  Once I stopped nagging and bullying myself mentally every minute of every day, I could focus on other things besides feeling like total shit for being total shit.  Still, my realization made me a little confused: all my research seemed a little stupid now.  YOU'RE AWESOME! STAND IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR AND SAY YOU'RE AWESOME! TELL PEOPLE HOW AWESOME YOU ARE! WRITE LOVE NOTES TO YOURSELF! WRITE YOURSELF A FUCKING LOVE BALLAD AND THEN HAVE SEX WITH YOURSELF TO IT BECAUSE MY GOD YOU'RE THE BEST! 

My Solution So Far 

One quote popped into my head immediately as I was thinking about this.  I forget where it's from, but I've always liked it: "Don't believe everything you think."  My reality and truth might be total bullshit as far as real reality and truth are concerned.  In fact, in this instance, I really believe it is.  I think that my reality--that I am a horrible useless person who would be better off serving the world by being a pile of ashes scattered in the wind--is not real.  I've made it real to me, but that definitely doesn't make it reality.  (Again, going back to religion....lol....)  I had two choices: feel like a total asshole for being so stupid as to mentally manipulate myself into a false truth--and I considered that--and the other choice, acknowledge that I believe untrue things about myself and work toward relearning who I am from an objective point of view.  Not good, great, grand, wonderful, fantastic....but also not horrible, scheming, slimy, useless, worthless, ugly, and stupid. 

I Haven't Failed 

I was sitting on the bus last week, going to town.  I like the bus rides, because they're a nice quiet alone time for me to sit and reflect on being in Sweden, and that's when some of my happiest thoughts come.  My appreciation for life just swells up in some really great thoughts: about my Swedish host family, about my friends, about this beautiful country, my dreamland, about life in general.  I usually sit and stare blankly out the window and let those thoughts pass by and put me in a good mood.  But this day was different because I thought something so profound it put my brain in meltdown mode, made my throat close up, and I cried.   
"You haven't failed."
Even by my own ridiculously unrealistic standards, I have not failed.  I may cry at night, I may have a lot of angst and depression and I may have been on antidepressants for almost a year, I may have a family who refuses to speak to me and I may have a ton of other things wrong that I feel badly about but none of that means that I've failed at having the life I want..
I've definitely had setbacks: I was homeless for awhile, I was in an abusive relationship when I was 18, I married someone for every wrong reason that can ever exist to marry someone, I've tormented myself over the years until self-hate was the only way I spoke to myself.  But I've also done so much that I swore I would do....so many things that I've wanted, some since childhood.  Not only have I done them, I've done them in spite of the odds against me. I learned how to paint, I started writing my stories down, I made the most wonderful friends anyone could ever have, I traveled.  I even moved to another continent and got a job that most Americans only read about in historical novels.   
Some days I can't do anything but cry over this or that or the past or what have you, but I haven't failed.  And from someone with such strict guidelines on what is appropriate for them and what is not, that's huge.  I have a lot that I want out of the future, that's true, but so far I've succeeded.  And as with most human beings, the odds were stacked against me in the beginning.   So I sat there on the bus, crying and realizing that I'm not a failure and am exactly the opposite of a failure, really, and that's the most wonderful thing I've ever learned about myself.  


Self Exploration Sentences (Worksheet)

I have a lot on my mind that I haven't put in this blog concerning self-love lately, but I want to wait until I am coherent (it's late) and sober (it's the weekend) enough to pull off a well-thought-out discussion piece.  Right now I want to do a bit of an exercise, a worksheet I found on 'self exploration'.  It definitely has a lot to do with building self esteem and self-compassion, I think.  I'm always analyzing and more often than not, over-analyzing myself and my decisions and life.  This simple exercise, just the completion of a few sentences, helps with understanding what's going on and how I feel, without all the added cumbersome baggage I tag to things and let them drag me down.

Feel free to fill these out for yourself.  If you do, shoot me a comment with the link! I love reading stuff like this.  Much more fulfilling than a braindead pinterest post or whatever else floats out there in blogland.

Self Exploration Sentence Exercise

My family is
a big bunch of smelly retards.  lol.  I don't feel like wasting energy on how I feel about them.  There's always some lurking sadness that I feel when it comes to hating them, but there you go....they suck and that's that.  Next.

A fond memory of mine is when
the other day I wrote in my private blog (yes, that's how neurotic I am) about the first time Henri kissed me.  It wasn't that long ago, it was in December, but it's a night I like to remember over and over again.  Coming to a new country, there's tons of new sights and smells and sensory overload that just cannot be explained until you visit a new land.  Henri is kind of my familiar fuzzy warm teddy bear that makes me remember myself when I can't do so otherwise.

I admire
people who stand up for others, instead of just sitting there neutrally when someone's being bullied or insulted.

Right now, I feel
tired and super excited! Cruise...weekend with Henri....week alone....it's like a personal vacation.

I have been struggling with
not having a personal number.  I feel a little dehumanized.  The lack of American dialect really gets to me sometimes too.  These are whiny-sounding things, and you're probably thinking "oh god, she gets to travel abroad and all she does is bitch!" but I promise you...after a month or so, and I've been here three, the novelty wears off in a way that makes you feel so, so terribly alone and misunderstood.  See above: why Henri is so nice to have around.

I am proud of myself because
look at me.  I fuckin' did it.  I did it.  Not just moving overseas.  That was something I NEVER imagined myself doing...but just, everything.  For all intents and purposes as a 25 year old, I am a success.  I'm healthy, (mostly) sane, independent, functional in society, and I even have the perks of being liked loved by amazing people and looked up to by others.  I write, I create, I paint, and I do so much more than I was given to understand one had to do in the world.  So I did it.  I have, with bumps and setbacks and disappointments, lived the life I always wanted.

I hope to someday
have a family of my own.  And be an author.

Today, I will
kiss Henri at the train station and then have my very first cruuuuuuuise!

My best friend
kicks ass in every single way a human being can.  She's like a superhero.  And I trust her.  And I never trust anybody, but I trust her.  She is my idol.

I am afraid of
my own negativity sometimes. Suicidal thoughts.  The want to get back on SSRI's.

The future seems
doable.  Totally doable.  I'm sure it will have more bumps and disappointments, but I've already succeeded in this first quarter of a century, so I think I can make that pattern continue.


Current Happenings + Where the Fuck is Spring.

Dear blogger land, I profusely apologize for my absence.  First I got sick, then I got deathly ill, then some other stuff happened.  I will summarize as best as I can, and then show you some photos.

--My RSS feed got messed up again somehow.  It was screwed up when I switched to a custom domain a year or so ago and now here we go again, screwing with things.  The problem is that I know exactly as much about RSS feeds as I do soapmaking and chimney sweeping.  Nothing, in other words.  I've been looking for a blogging help site that will take over and fix it for whatever sum of money they want--I'm desperate here--but either nobody wants to fool with me or nobody likes money, because no one has been able to help.   Google Reader is being retired this year too so that's just dandy, I can't wait to deal with that mess too....

--Far less depressing news: tomorrow (Friday) I get to go to my first weekend cruise! And another country! Technically an island...but the island belongs to another country, so this totally counts.  I'm going with my boyfriend and some awesome, awesome Stockholm friends.  I've never been on a cruise, so this is a first.  Expect pics and probably stories of our drunken seasick adventures.

--My host family will be out of the country for a few days starting next week, and for the very first time I will be alone alone alone.  I'm kind of nervous, but also excited!!! I plan on working on my ebook, and painting. I also have a mini-retreat planned with Henri as well.

--Of course I haven't been posting lately but I am still really excited about my 12 Months of Self Love project.  I've noticed a slight shift in how I've been thinking and that is just amazing.  I will elaborate on it during my next self love post.  Just expect more questionnaires, philosophical ponderings and rants, and maybe even some photos or backstory to my journey.

--It was beautiful and sunny for a week and I got my hopes up for Spring and life seemed wonderful.  Then we got a foot of snow again, no big deal, and of course I fell on the ice and got a concussion.  I'm still sore.

These pics are a few weeks old; the bridge is in Kristineberg (Stockholm) near Henri's house.  We always pass it walking to his apartment from the subway station.  When I first saw it, I was depressed and kept having the morbid thought of jumping off.  But now I associate it with Henri and our relationship and it makes me really happy.  

Toffi finding the sun.  


All About Introverts.

Happy March everybody! Late to the party, but I've been retardedly sick for the past however long and I just took a week off blogging (and everything else) until I felt better.  And now that I do, I want to talk about something very important to me: introversion!

Top: OMG sun in Sweden!!! Thank you March!! 
Bottom: I couldn't find any good text graphics for introverts so I made one.  

I stalk Tumblr and Blogger regularly and one of the things I see a lot of people talking about is their "social anxiety" or "introvertedness."  Either theirs, or a loved one's, perception that they are somehow socially inept or don't fit in because they are an introvert.  First of all I'd like to clarify that social anxiety is a very real thing; I've felt it myself, but having that anxiety and being an introvert are two totally different things.  

I'm an introvert and I embrace it wholeheartedly.  I can go days without human interaction and focus on work, art, writing, etc.  There is nothing wrong with this whatsoever.  I've learned to find people in my life who can accept my lack of "there-ness" and who know how straining social time is for me.  Instead of chilling and doing nothing and wasting time, we have deep meaningful talks and interactions.  Because you may not know this but this is something very important to know when dealing with introverts:

Time spent alone is energizing.  Time spent with others is draining.  Even if it is a great time and we are enjoying ourselves, our batteries are still going down. 

Think of it like a vampire to the sun: a vampire might really LIKE being in the sun, might enjoy sunshiney activities and their favorite season might be summer, but there's still a very clear limit on what is acceptable and what is harmful.  I think a lot of introverts don't realize or want to accept that being in public/with others is taxing on them, so they force themselves to interact well beyond their energy levels and then get frustrated, annoyed, scared, feel awkward, etc.  

And of course everyone is different, but whether you are an introvert, have one in your life, or both, please remember to be kind.  Check up, ask yourself (or them) "How are you feeling? Do you need some time to yourself?"  If the situation is becoming stressful, step out.  I thought that I had problems a few years ago (before I embraced my introversion) because my friend would always ask me to sleep over and I always declined.  Even though it's nice to spend time with her and I loved being at her house, I NEEDED to be in my own bed when the time came to sleep.  That's just how I am.  One night I forced myself to sleep over to prove that I had nothing to fear, and I was miserable.  A total mess.  I couldn't think about anything except going home.  

There's no reason for introverts to feel weird, feel like they can't make friends, feel like they're too "hermity", or anything else.  Introverts get lonely, and it's important that when they do, they have family and friends to turn to and get feedback from.  It's probably difficult for people who aren't introverted to understand how someone can go days (or weeks or months) without calling or texting, then suddenly want to talk.  You may feel blown off or ignored; this is probably not the case.   Just remember are are like vampires and the world is our sun; and if you are an introvert, you should be happy!!! Introverts are very independent, and usually creative and thoughtful thanks to those many many hours spent in solitude.