Home is where the heart is

Had dinner with Ben and Candice yesterday. Im a social butterfly at the moment but its a bit hard doing it on your own. I used to love going somewhere with Oliver. Meet up, get on the tube together and then on the way home discuss the evening and lean my weary head after a couple of beers on Olivers shoulder. Now its just me. I sit on the tube by myself feeling lonely.

Bendice are talking about buying a house in the suburbs. I feel so alien to their plans. Its just to accept that if you break up during this time in your life you are very far away from your friends. Im thinking about moving in with others, they about buying a house. I always used to think I wasnt done, that I had so much more partying and experiencing in me but i really dont any longer, I actually want to settle down but i guess i have a couple of more years to go. Candice said i should travel for a year but i dont want that, I want to work out where I want to live and create a life.

I think that even if im single i need to create a safe place and a home for myself. I never felt at home in London and couldn’t see myself live here and that it was ultimately broke us. Oliver didnt understand what I needed – someone who was willing to try and create that home with me where I needed it, someone that chose me and us. His career and family here in London was too important to him and who am I to blame him for that when part of why i could never feel truly at home here was feeling rootless.

Since I dont have anyone to help me do that I have to do it on my own. Create a place where I feel that i can be me. This feeling of being lost have been hard for me to handle for the last 5 years and even before that. This flat is the longest I have lived anywhere for the last 15 years and its been 19 months. I dont want to move, I dont want to break up, start new, being rootless again but to get where i need to go I have to do it again.

Walking down memory lane

Out drinking cocktails with Dimitra yesterday. Feel like shit today. As it goes. Great night, great girl and great cocktails though. She said that I seem like someone who has done so much and had so much fun and thinking about it realisisng its true.

I have traveled all over the world, from back packing in Asia and South America to late night dancing in Ibiza. I have walked the Inca trail, danced in the sunrise at Burning Man, got up in the middle of the night to go fishing with some old fishermen in northern Norway, being fed crabs by a Cambodian party of 20, gone to a sober dance party in a nightclub in NYC, drunk vodka with russian oligarchs on a yacht in Croatia, done yoga in the sunrise in Honduras, been taught belly dancing in Morocco, sung a N’Sync song on the radio in the early morning hours in Aland, walked the mountains in Wales, surfed in Sri Lanka, been to a hospital with an infection in Laos, scuba dived, thinking I was going to die but holding the hand of a friend, in Thailand, crashed a wedding in Paris, kissed a much older boy in Italy when I was 16, found a paradise city in the middle of a desert in Brazil, fallen in love in England, sat up all night talking about who I want to be with a friend i haven’t seen in years on a boat in NYC and done off piste skiing in the Alps.

I have moved country and city and lived in 16 different flats. My friends are from all over the world. I have a family that will do anything for me and I think about them every day. I have loved boys that have taught me about knots, live drawing, japanese culture, teas, how to make a wicked boat cleaner, how sleeping next to someone with an open window a warm summer night can make you feel invincible, cornish pasties, weird music, anime, how you sometimes need to cry your heart out, meditation, sailing, how to open your heart, tennis, open mindedness and love. I’m still friends with my ex boyfriends and I will always love them.

I have a dog and a pretty impressive collection of shoes. I have left a book shelf of books in every flat I ever lived. I know how to listen to people and make them smile. Someone once told me I have a hippie heart and that im the best Swede they know for being up for anything and liking everyone. I’m wise and kind. I speak out about things I care about and I sometimes fight with my mum because I love her. I care about people and I know about being sad.

Ive been given flowers by a homeless person because I was sad and crying on the street and an umbrella by a stranger because it was raining. I always give money to homeless people and I once carried an old ladies bags all the way to her flat for 30 minutes.

Wonder what the next 30 years will bring.

 NYC – on a late night roof top party

 Sailing in Croatia

 River rafting in Peru

 Midsummer in Turkey

 Sun bathing in the Hamptons

 Mountain walking in Argentine

 On the beach in Cuba

 On our way to the salt desert in Bolivia

 Scuba diving in Honduras

 On a boat in Honduras

 At a pool party in Cannes

Summer party in the middle of winter in Stockholm

Dancing at Burning Man

Being led into a fairy tale

Being so tired I could barely function I went straight home to my bed yesterday. Heated some ready made cottage pie and ate candy from my pillow. Grown up my ass. If im going to be single and shit I can at least live the dream of being completely useless.

Bought 4 books in Sweden Ive been wanting to read for a while. They sit by my bed as little reminders of magic worlds Ill get to step through. After moving here I love reading in swedish, especially writers who properly make the language live. Both Sandra Beijer and Kristofer Ahlstrom are bloggers I love, the Boije af Gennas one is the last in a trilogy about Stockholm that have made me miss home so badly and the Elsie Johansson one looked like it would take me into a proper fairy tale.

Borrowed my mums sunglasses when i was home. Love them. They make me feel like someone who should dance the streets of Paris, drink pink cocktails and care about nothing but pretty clothes. Very far from how I feel at the moment but one day.

One thing I hate about being unhappy is how unattractive you feel. In all aspects. I feel both ugly (nothing fit, all my clothes are old, my hair is dry and brittle and I look tired) and boring. Being sad make your inner light fade and you walk around with the you all turned down. Or at least i do. You meet people and you want to tell them that ‘actually im way more fun than this, you just wait’.

W and me chillin on the bed. He placed his head on my butt and stayed there for the rest of the evening. Felt owned.

Writing about the things that actually matter for a change

Since I moved to London I’ve become more of a feminist. Yes, being brought up in equal rights Sweden studying a female heavy course at University and having loads of male friends I never really thought about it.

I mean, I always proclaimed to be a feminist, I started the group FIMP (foreningen iskvinnorna mot pojkar (in Swedish this basically mean the ice women against boys, great name my 20 year old self thought back then and mostly sat in a window and smoked)) and used to discuss endlessly with my immature 20 year old something male friends about women rights and yes, Simone de Beauvoir was something of a house god. But i never really saw it as that much of a problem, in my mind my generation were pretty much equal and every guy I dated did as much house work as i (if not more, Im lazy), listened to me with respect and I earned the money I expected after my (fairly useless) education in literature.

However, moving to London have changed that. England is miles behind Sweden, both in attitude and in the laws. In some ways its way more progressive and the discussions around the dinner tables always very interesting in this subject but in society as a whole its CRAP.

For starters, there are few women managers and role models in the work space and I would dare say the salary gap is pretty scary. Due to the shitty maternity leave and crazy cost of day care women end up quitting their jobs and becoming house wives to make it go round (mind you, anyone has the all the right in the world to become a house wife if that is what they want, I just dont think that should be your only option to make the economy work). The time when most people get promoted is mid 30’s when women are thinking about families and since men only get 10 days paternity leave its the women that needs to sacrifice their careers or families. Since moving here Ive had a couple of female managers and none of them have chosen family therefore getting to where they are.

This leaks out into the culture and I see way more rich, successful men acting in that old ‘men club’ way sticking together and excluding women from business discussions than i was used to. There are also a sexist way about some of it that makes me choke, its far away from how men in Sweden have been taught to behave by their mums, most having worked all through their upbringing. Most men I know here are as equal and aware as their counterparts in Sweden, its just the big, societal discussion that haven’t kept up. In Sweden we have a feminist party, here they barely speak about it.

This said, I love London and all the different people living here and I meet as many ways of dealing with this as there are people and the discussion is definitely happening in this huge and crazy city. London has made me more aware but also given me the tools, ammunition and strength to keep raising my voice and discuss this very important issue.

Here are some of my favourite blogs on this
Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess
The Escapologists Daughter
Zusterchap

I went back and even if I wanted to cry I smiled for the things that matter

Back from Sweden. Got home at 2 last night and fell asleep at 3. Tired today. Tired and emotional. It was lovely being home but also hard, it hit me when i was back – that im truly on my own now. I had to explain to everyone why and how and I felt old, lonely and like ive made the biggest mistake ever.

Im not sure why that was so much harder being home but its probably strongly connected to my sense of having failed, that thought ive always had of ending up alone and this feeling like a confirmation of that. Here in London ive rebuilt myself to not feel that as strongly and i see myself as less of a fail and more like someone who is doing something for myself but at home that doesn’t work. I spent most of the weekend wondering how i ended up here and wishing that this wasnt my life, that something would happen to set it all right.

I did have a good time though and had a lovely evening with mum and dads friends on Friday, went up to my awesome sister on Saturday and met Hanna and Jossan on Sunday. But you can do both, find it amazing seeing people you love and feeling lost and hollow at the same time.

 We went through old paintings and was pottering around the house on Friday. Mum and Dad were getting the house ready for their guests and I mostly read.

Dad was trying to convince me this painting was big art. ‘Accident on the E4’ he called it. Not so sure that is something I want staring at me from my walls every day.

 Dad spent hours setting the table. Its very important it looks right. I wont mention the time he was swearing over the napkins. It looked lovely though and Dad could be proud.

 It was grey outside so the day was nicely spent inside. I sat on the balcony under a blanket for some time and got some sun on my winter pale cheeks.

 My cooked an amazing dinner of beetroot mousse, salmon with safron sauce and rhubarb crumble.

 The guests loved it and everyone had a second helping. I felt like a kid again talking about my life in London. Do you ever grow up until you have a family of your own?

 Dad kept serving booze and the grown ups were up until 3. I gave up around 1. I know were my genes come from though.

After a day in Nykoping with me buying books and clothes (and maybe some candy) we went up to sister and had the perfect dinner of tacos and playing with the kids. Sister and me made plans and talked about our upcoming Prague trip. Yes people, in a couple of months time we will be sipping (cheap) cocktails and make plans that will change the world the way you do with your sisters.

 The kids are so grown up now and it was lovely to see them. Sometimes i feel like I miss it all from here.

 I love my sisters and Mickes house, it make me dream of something Im very far away from having, the family in the suburb with nature outside your door and the kids playing in the street in the evenings. Im sure that if i had it I would dream of late nights in London but at the moment it feels like somewhere you could rest your weary head.

 Love these people. No matter how much it messed with my mind being home they make it worth it, every time.

The kids playing with mum.

‘Lets talk about what feels strange on the inside’

It hits me sometimes that we are never going to happen. All our plans, our dreams, everything good about us will never happen. Ol will go off and do something else, set up a life with someone else and I’ll live with the shadows of us in my heart. Im not good at letting go and everyone I ever cared about live in my heart forever. I will (hopefully) meet someone and one day I will look at us and be glad about everything that we had and that its not us any longer but now it stabs me with sadness every time i think about it.

We wont happen. We will never move to NYC, we will never have babies that play too rough with Woolly, we will never buy our dream house and furnish it with explosions of colour and we will never stand at each others sides through thick and thin. We will never dream together again.

It’s sad. No matter how right this is I still find it very sad and every time it hits me its like my world tilts a bit, like I understand all over again what we have done. When I look at Ol he still belongs to me, his future is still intertwined with mine. My mind knows its not the case but my heart still believes. When im off to Sweden i think ‘next time you’ll be with me’. I wonder how long this will keep being like this for, when I’ll stop seeing my future with him.

Puzzles

Going East

Elin asked me if I wanted to come up East and see Tove Styrke yesterday. Yes, i did. It was in Hoxton Bar and Grill. The place we went to when we were ‘experiencing East’ with Robin and Sven back in the days. We jumped into a cab and said ‘take us to East’. Thats where we ended up. Cool cats. (for those of you who dont know London, its a bit like saying ‘I want to experience soder’ and end up on Medborgarplatsen)

We started with some pho, we wanted to have steak in the church gone hard rock meat place but it was full. Believe me, I will be back there one day.

Tove was good and and I had a great time. She looked about 12 and wore some kind of bullet proof vest thing. I felt very out of touch with the ‘young people’. Good that, I still think looking like an old rocker is the height of fashion (not that it ever was in my time but hey, its all about finding your own style)

Elin and me drank Swedish ciders in celebration of Tove and planned Eurovison and wedding. Equally important in the Rislow mind.

Came home to my dog and realised im leaving him for 3 days. Sad face. He was stressed this morning when i was packing but then Ol came and he was all focused on licking his face. Best distraction.