Over to you 2019!

After my last post I figured I might as well share some of my plans for 2019 with you.

My biggest goal during 2019 will be to maintain my mental health and to not work too much. I can get a bit “money blind”, even though I don’t earn loads, and take too many extra shifts just so that I can go out for dinner every week. I will instead try to budget and not waste so much money on spontaneous food shopping and restaurants.

Less extra work hours will also give me time to read and write more. I am supposed to have two days a week where I can spend hours doing just that. Instead I have prioritised shopping, laundry, youtube, and cleaning. I will slowly get out of this habit, and instead of watching youtube, as I eat my morning porridge, I will read and start my day with words.

Finally, I want to go to Barcelona. I miss Spain and Emil and I can’t believe that didn’t go and see him last year. It’s painful to think of. But I will be back soon, because I need sangria.

What are your goals for 2019?
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Monday is the first day of the week.

Am I stating the obvious?

Of course I am, but I will explain why…

Last week was a pretty shitty week. It was a-I have no money no one cares no one is listening my job suck and my other job suck too and the third one as well and I am tired all the time and will I get out of this rotten state or is this it because this cannot be it because if it is I quit-kind of week.

I felt horrible.

And I woke up today, after working almost two weeks straight, and thought that this week would be the same.
But, Monday proved me wrong. Today has been tough, but I breathed through it, which is something I could not do last week. I have planned my days, I have made a few people happy, I have taken on a challenge (which I’ll tell you about later), and Dennis danced around in my pink bath robe.

So I feel more at peace today. And I believe that Monday’s are the first day of the week; the start of a new breath and new mind set.

Let’s see how long it last shall we?

“You look great! Have you lost weight?”

It happened again, and this time I have to write it down.

I have been told, on numerous occasions, that I look great.
Lovely, I know. But, it is always followed by, “have you lost weight”, “you look slim”, or, “your face look thinner”. However, I know that I, on all of these occasions, haven’t lost any weight.
Can’t people just understand that I am hot and look great when they see me?

Hot or healthy, doesn’t have to be skinny or thin. People can look great just being themselves! We have to stop associate weight loss with good looks, and we need to start giving compliments without mentioning the other person’s weight. There is so much more to a person’s beauty than the amount of fat or muscles on their bodies, and these “compliments” are triggering.

I am glad that I am confident enough to not feel bad about it. I usually reply, “well I haven’t”, and they usually reply, “but I can tell”, and I say “well then it’s because of stress, which is not a healthy weight loss” (even though I know I haven’t lost any bloody weight). I try to call it out, to say that it’s because I feel well, or even that I have gained weight, because this needs to stop. The person that you “compliment” might have an eating disorder (which comes in EVERY shape and size), and your comment might start something they are trying to fight.
You can instead compliment someones skin, choice of dress, or confidence.

I am hot, and it’s not because of my weight.
But far from everyone are in this state of mind.

So stop commenting on people´s weight, unless they’ve explicitly asked for it. And, maybe even then, don’t?

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Graduation

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Here I am. A newly graduated university student who can’t quite believe how fast time has gone.

I have always, kind of, known that I would study journalism. But that I would do it in England, combine it with creative writing, and manage to achieve a 2.1 is something I never even dared to dream.

I graduated on Monday the 23rd of July, on the hottest day in the history of the UK, and it was a wonderful, slightly anticlimactic, experience. Anticlimactic because it feels like I finished two months ago.

But I got to spend the day with my favourite course mates, a few proud and supportive lectures, and my beloved family who were visiting from Sweden.

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(Only Mattias is missing.)

Afterwards, I took them, Dennis, my mother in law, Andri and her mother, to Notting Hill and Churchill Arms, an iconic pub covered in flowers to celebrate with Thai food. It was a great day.

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These three years has been both overwhelming, challenging, beautiful and educational. I often forget how tough the second half of my first year was; how ill I was and how I was not sure that I could continue studying. But I did, somehow, and I only realise this as I see my loved ones proud and emotional. Because I never really think about it myself.

Now I am ready for new and exciting opportunities. And I am glad that I am here, in London, searching for what is to come.

Multitasking from hell.

As I am working my way through my last couple of month of university I am slightly panicking, but weirdly seem to have everything together?

I have just started my first post-university job as an editorial assistent at a content creating company called Eric, and it takes up most of my brain capacity at the moment. At the same time I am trying to finish all my assignments, produce X-Magazine, prepare for editing sessions of my short story, blog, and, you know, eat and sleep.

Luckily, this is something I want to do, and something that I want to be better at. I want to be brilliant.

I am looking towards the finish line, to when I have finished all my tasks, and to when I can solemnly focus on my career. But, until then, I am multicasting the shit out of this spring.

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How can I influence?

I’d like to write about these people called influencers.
The last couple of years social media platforms have become increasingly important for brands, celebrities, but also for businesses. In this wave of marketing people who have a lot of followers on Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, blogs etc, have become a tool to reach out to a wider audience: introducing influencers.

For me, an influencer is something very different from what brands and our capitalistic society wants it to be. I want an influencer to influence people to do good, to give back and to be the best person you can be. But this is unfortunately rarely the case.
Our most loved influencers are usually the ones coming from a stabil and wealthy background, girls (because most influencers are girls) who have had it all, and girls that are the norm: beautiful and skinny. They are women who are encouraging you to buy this and that, instead of encouraging self love and a healthy living.

I’m mainly aware of Swedish influencers, because somehow they are a lot more up in my face than anyone international, and there are two kinds. The first one is the most common one, and sadly the most popular one: the beautiful normality. The other one is the opposite, the influencers that call out on the ones that influence the “this is how we are suppose to look and act”. These are the influencers I want to be influenced by. But I’m like a fish in a stream, I do follow the main.

What many influencers don’t understand is the amount of young girls who look up to them, who buy the same clothes as them and who does anything the be like their idol. Some would argue that of course they do, that is how they get payed, they make other people buy the stuff they promote. And yes, they are aware of this, but they don’t understand how the tiniest little hint of self hate can turn a girl from healthy to insecure.
It is absolutely okay to dress, eat and act in any way you like (as long as you are nice to people), but don’t talk about diets, how to look thin as fuck in photos (that was Khloe), and about how you are not enough. It hurts more than you think.

Yes even influencers doubt themselves, and yes they are allowed to have bad days and make bad decisions, but they must be able to do it in a much better way. They know how many followers they have, they know the norm oh so well, they know they earn money on being this inspiring person, and they know they can help many by doing better.

If I can influence anyone to anything I want them to feel like they can be themselves, and that being yourself is fucking amazing.

Here’s to the influencers who inspire me to be my healthy self, to people who encourage me to read, to give to charity, to dance in my underwear, to drink wine, and to make a fool of myself on Instagram. I like you.

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Here’s a picture where I don’t look skinny as fuck. It’s just me, and that’s okay.
Photo by Johanna.

A Portrait

Last year my friend Andrea made a documentary about me for her university course. She studies film and art in Brighton and honoured me with documenting on my life as a writer, a student and a feminist.
It is so weird to hear and see myself on film. I will never get used to my voice.

Around 3.20 into the film I talk about how we were creating a magazine for university, but this project has been closed down. I decided to keep that bit in the film though, because when I talk about the magazine that I was going to be a part of, I talk about stuff that I am passionate about and topics I still want to share with the world. My original magazine is no more, but the issues that we were going to rise are still around.
I am creating another magazine now, but more about that later…

Andrea is a great filmmaker and I felt comfortable in front of her camera. She asks good questions and are interested in the person she is covering.
I feel a bit (read a lot) self conscious, but she did such a good job that I want to share this here.

Selfie worth.

My dear friend Aziza wrote the other day about her view on selfies and how her phone album is full with self loving, weird angled selfies. Because she doesn’t care anymore. She is happy with how she sees herself, how she can portrait herself, and she is extremely good at it. I am glad that I have reached that point myself, although I’m not quite as confident. But still, I have come a long way and don’t mind other people taking my picture.
But where did this selfie obsession start? Social media and the pressure to post pictures of ourselves have gone above crazy and I know it too well myself. If I post a really clever picture of a book I have read, or a magazine, or my coffee cup, I don’t even get half the amount of likes as I do when I post a selfie. Isn’t it weird? Still, I do like the numbers under the post and I do check my notifications more often after posting a selfie. I am in the middle of it, I really am.
In the latest issue of Womankind – The skill of happiness there is an article written by Antonia Case called ‘No self in the age of selfies’ where it says, “What was the first selfie? You scroll backwards in time, through 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, and further still, until you come to a pause, a gap – almost like birth – and behold a photograph of a rose tree.”
The author talk about ego and how it is the ego that’s at the ready to be either wounded or gratified. It is fascinating.
Sometime over time how we looked on social media started triumphing our presence in real life. And this with selfies in focus.
So what about the people who doesn’t like their own self? Or, more likely, their own selfie? What happens with the people that avoid those pictures, the camera, that angle that they hate? Do their non-existing presence in social media define their self worth, and if it does, is it higher or lower than mine, a selfie obsessed social media user?
Which ego is most wounded and which ego is most gratified?

Aziza’s blog post

Womankind Magazine 

Both worth a read. I fell in love with Womankind Magazine and will continue to write comment pieces on it.

 

Not with a fizzle, but with a… baby?

We are expected to grow up, find the love of our life, marry this someone and have a family. But is family life really for everyone?

Everywhere women are asked “when will you have kids”, but the answer no seems to be unacceptable.

A woman who says that she doesn’t want kids are more often than not told “You´ll change your mind”, or “You will want kids when you find the right man”. Women are faced with constant pressure of giving birth, but they are also starting to get sick of it.

I can feel how the discussion is getting heated. Many, like myself, understand why people choose not to have children, others, also like me, are not sure if they want to reproduce either. Then there’s the ones saying that they definitely don’t want kids, and others who strongly argue that this is wrong. Why do people have such strong opinions about the topic and see this as an issue?

Andrea Cubells, 21, says “Many times they just stare at me like “Really? Why? As if I had just said something extremely shocking, and I guess that for some people it is.”

She continues, “As bad as it may sound for some people, I think that having kids would have a rather negative and stressful impact on my life, which I would like to avoid.

Andrea, who is a Moving Image student in Brighton, has been a babysitter for many years and says that she enjoys having kids around, but at the end of the day she wants to “go back to my normal and quiet space. You can’t leave if the children are your own.”

In times like these when life goes faster than ever, we are still stuck in the old opinions of what is important in life – to start a family. Andrea says, “Nowadays things take longer to achieve, there is so much to do and so much competition. Having children would destroy that. I like the freedom and independence.”

Although a lot is still the same, Millennials are having a more open discussion about this taboo and the subject has become slightly easier to talk about.

“We can talk about it now. When I was little it was only weird if a grown woman didn’t have children, but now we are starting to accept it.” Andrea says.

The average British woman gives birth to 1.81 children in her lifetime. This has decreased with 0.04 since 2013 when the statistic showed 1.85 children per woman (ONS).

It seems like the safest way to stay childfree is to go through a sterilisation which has proven to be more than 99% effective (NHS). But, it is very hard to get a green light on a sterilisation before the age of 30. This is due to surgeons wanting to make sure the woman doesn’t change her mind since a sterilisation is very hard to undo.

Women who don’t want children face arguments and have to explain their decision all the time, but do men go through the same thing?

Alexander Naumovich ,22, is studying film in Paris and says that he doesn’t want kids.

“Kids would be in the way for what I want to achieve in life. Also, they are annoying.”

When asked if he thinks that women and men are told the same things when asked about reproduction he says, “I feel like sex roles are getting more loose every day, so it’s probably not as bad as 10 years ago. But I’m sure women hear it more often.”

Sandra Partanen, 22, is also one of the millennials who says no to having children.

“I don’t feel the need to make sure my family genes stay alive. If I, at some point, would want kids, I would adopt. There are too many unwanted children born into this world.”

And to the people saying “You will regret this”, many women are sure of what they want and who they are.

Isabelle Foi-z is a bachelor student from Montreal. She has never had any plans of having children and stands firm at the age of 47.

“I am my own project”, she says.

My conversation with Isabelle is one of the best ones I’ve ever had. When I talk about how Millennials are not taken seriously she frowns and says “I know so many inspirational, passionate 20 year olds, I talk to them every day at university! And they all have something to contribute with. It’s an exciting future.”

Isabelle’s decision to not have children has affected her life very recently, “I was broken up with a couple of months ago because I don’t want to have children. So this is very much my life.”

When asked why she doesn’t want to have children she simply says, “I have no interest. Honestly, it’s lack of interest. It’s like I don’t want to become a veterinarian; I neither want to become a mother.”

Isabelle is actively trying to “debunk motherhood” and says, “we have to keep telling the world that we are fulfilled.”

Living an alternative lifestyle is often questioned, but I do believe that we are starting to open up about what is not the norm, and in this way we can make this into the non-issue it should be.