I think I’ve figured it out

Of course I haven’t figured anything out.
Temple, waves and surfers in Jl Batu Bolong, Canggu, Bali 2022
The soft and the hard, the sea and the rocks.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, I’m not sure I’ve figured out everything that’s going on with me. But I’ve got a hunch. So much has happened in my life these last three years, I’ve completely changed my life, moved away from Stockholm back to the north of Sweden where I’m originally from (yes, I still keep repeating that as if it’s some sort of mantra and justification for me living there), I’ve spent more than one of those three years traveling, and yes, there’s a pandemic still doing the rounds across the world. I’ve started my own business and progressed as a photographer. So, good things have happened. But also a lot of bad stuff, like being bitten by a Dobermann that was on a leach but still attacked me who was minding my own business on my way to the bus stop. I was in Sri Lanka when the horrible economic crises became apparent and I could feel the desperation in the country when the fuel and cooking gas was running short, and the inflation was going up, while not as many tourists as expected were coming back. In general, traveling as a single woman, especially during a pandemic, is very special. When I came to Bali the island had been closed for tourists for two years and, even if I was taken care of were well, it’s still a bit spooky being one of the few guests at a hotel. It’s also the first time I’ve been away from Sweden for such a long time. Let’s just say, not all of the past three years of my live have been super nice. What is happening to me right now probably goes back much further than three years, because some things in life hits you harder than others.

Galugan morning in Amed, East Bali 2022, girl praying next to the sea.
Galugan morning in Amed, East Bali 2022

I realised last autumn that I was probably having PTSD, and not just from one event. Bad things happen to all people, to some more than other, and this last decade or so, has been filled with things that have made me feel like the ground underneath my feet was opening up. Some of those events I’ve processed and moved on from, and some I haven’t. Last autumn I asked myself, “What happens with all of those unprocessed PTSDs, do they accumulate on top of each other or what?”.

Fishing boats at sea on Galugan morning in Amed, East Bali 2022
It’s always boats against the horizon for me. Yes, the view I like the most.

Think I know the answer to my question now. While traveling, and especially since I’ve come back to Sweden, I’ve been doing a lot of crying. Which I think is good in some way but it completely drains me of energy as well, and I’m not one of those people who look pretty when they cry so you can see the signs on my face for 24 hours afterwards. Oh, I’m showing signs of vanity as well. Anyhow, I think I’ve sort of reached a point where all my accumulated PTSDs are telling me that I’ve had enough and need to deal with things, or at least, not to try and cover them up and just keep going. I remember many times these last ten years where I’ve felt that I just want to give up and cry but then told myself that this was not the place and time to do that, and just pushed myself to keep going. I think my crying is also a protest against the saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you harder” since I don’t want to be hard, because then I lose my focus as a photographer, I need to be soft and sensitive to my surroundings otherwise I can’t see the world around me and take the photos I want to.

Fisherman in traditional balinese clothing in his boat on Galugan morning in Amed, East Bali 2022
I loved seeing and photographing this fisherman heading to shore while I was in the sea on Galugan morning.

Yesterday evening I was searching online for what might be wrong with me and found a book on Amazon, which I haven’t bought or read, but I’ve read the brief, and it talks about multiple PTSD that just keeps accumulating which sounds like what’s happening to me at the moment. I’m doing a lot of crying, and I don’t even recognise myself and my thinking sometimes. I think my life is difficult right now, and I feel a bit lost with so many important decisions to make.

So, what have I figured out then? I realised that if I ask myself what “me” four years ago, would think of my life at the moment helps me today. Me four years ago would think that my life today is great! I’ve dared taking the step of quitting a job I didn’t like at all, moved away from a place I didn’t like anymore and left the apartment I didn’t like in the first place and just bought because it was affordable in a ok neighbourhood. I’ve dared doing all of those things and I’m working on making my life be the way I want it to be. She would think that what I have, and what I am doing, is amazing.

Mount Agung, Balis highest mountain and an active volcano
Mount Agung, and the legends say it’s the axis of the universe so it must be just that.

Thinking like this really took me out of my misery today and brought me back to where I really am. Of course I still have lots of things to work through, and process, but I can’t be in that place every minute of every day so taking a step back and ask myself what me four years ago would think of my life right now makes me appreciate how far I’ve come.

These photos in this post of course have nothing, and everything, to do with the text. It is photos from Bali that I’ve submitted to two photo exhibitions. And me four years ago would be amazed that I had the courage to submit my photos to a photo exhibition, and maybe even more impressed by the fact that I’ve spent nine months during a pandemic traveling around Asia photographing surfing, but she would have no clue what a global pandemic was. She would also be impressed of the photos I’m taking. So, thinking like that helps me, maybe even in the long run and not just for the moment.

Surfing in Canggu close to a temple, Bali 2022
This is so much Bali to me, temples and water everywhere.

Disclaimer: of course I don’t have any knowledge of all the research and theories behind PTSD, I’m not even sure I have it but according to the descriptions I most probably do. And, it seems likely and logical that I’m suffering from it. There’s also a lot of stress in my life with the photography business, and everything else, which also has a huge effect on my mood. Life is uncertain and unpredictable, especially in the stage of my life that I’m in. Anyhow, in this text I’m just writing about how it is for me, and what I need to remind myself of, and ask myself, to re-focus on. And to enjoy the life that’s going on around me.

So, enough of this, but I could write so much more. And maybe I will, in one form or another.

  1. Wow you said some things that really impacted me and gave me a whole other perspective about your adored experiences especially when you shed more light on some of these:

    “So, good things have happened. But also a lot of bad stuff, like being bitten by a Dobermann that was on a leach but still attacked me who was minding my own business on my way to the bus stop. I was in Sri Lanka when the horrible economic crises became apparent and I could feel the desperation in the country when the fuel and cooking gas was running short, and the inflation was going up, while not as many tourists as expected were coming back. In general, traveling as a single woman, especially during a pandemic, is very special. When I came to Bali the island had been closed for tourists for two years and”

    Your travels might have been very lovely but there were also clearly alot of difficulties along the way. It’s hard for me to put into words how I feel about stuff as deeply heartaching like this, except to say that I get a sense of what you are coping with and that you are in my heart.

    “, or at least, not to try and cover them up and just keep going”

    Yes do not cover them up, its is very important to grieve, that in the human psyche’s natural way of strangely bleeding out or healing, sort of like a physical cut or injury, and you are acknowlagihng that there is a problem, and through reflection and thought and so many the life-related biological factors, you can become alot more robust and matured from these experiences and this sensative period, but this is definitely a delicate process that takes time since people deal with things different, but believe in yourself, love.

    1. Thank you so much 🙏 I really appreciate your comments! But now, a couple of days after I’ve written this blog post and gotten it off my chest, I feel much better. Also, my ups and downs might have had something to do with an Ayurvedic herb I’ve been taking for years, ashwaganda. I stopped taking it two nights ago and feel so much better, not sure if it’s related but it might be. I’m leaving this post here because, I’ve got some things to work through anyway. On the other hand, I feel so much more capable of doing it now … so, the future 🤞

      1. The utmost respect to you my friend 🙌🙌. I am happy with the way that you are feeling lately and I just hope that it keeps getting better. That was my long long love letter, just letting you know that I care 👍💙☺️. To the future indeed 🌟🥂🤟

      2. But the future got cancelled today at least, have sort of a cold so haven’t been able to do as much as I wanted. On the other hand, I never do 😉 Thanks 🙏

  2. Awww, sorry to hear about your cold <3 🤟🤗. I hope that it is just a "cold" and not actually something wose. But knowing you, even though the plans didn't work out now, you will get what you want "eventually" 😂😁

    1. Working on that “eventually” 😉 been in London without proper internet connection, but at the airport now so … 🤞 but I have ideas and that’s the most important thing, and at least in theory I’ve got time too!

      1. 💙🤞🤞 It could have been worse, you could have been stuck with only a can of Surströmming, be miles away from any kind of water to swim in, and can’t take any pictures or leave to go anywhere because you still have a very bad cold 😂😅

      2. Oh, you know of surströmming 🙄 have no idea how that fish looks when it’s alive but in the can, which can explode if it gets too old, it smells like what I suspect hell smells like. I know, things could always be worse. Which sometimes feels a bit scary 😉

  3. “Oh, you know of surströmming 🙄 have no idea how that fish looks when it’s alive but in the can, which can explode if it gets too old, it smells like what I suspect hell smells like. I know, things could always be worse. Which sometimes feels a bit scary 😉”

    ——-
    Hahaha yes I have hard about it and know that the smell is awful plus also about the fact that the can can explose. People usually recomemnd that you open it under water but I think most people are glad that it’s something they can live without LOL

    I wanted to mention an alternatively desperate scenario and I thought it would have been interesting to mention something in Sweden that would work with the scenario, and surströmming came to mind 🤣. But I was just trying to be humerous and I wasn’t tryng to suggest in anyway that your situation wasn’t inconveniencing.

    I hope that things do work out in one way or another 👍👍😇

    1. Yes! I hope things work out eventually, now they’re more of a mess than ever. Btw, I couldn’t find your other comment but replaced a missing image and wrote some captions to my photos.

      1. Alright, keep trying dear 🤗🤗.

        I am glad you took the time to fix up the other entry 🤟😁💙💙

      2. Yes your photos are lovely 🤩🤩. I can easily see how they will bring back memories haha. You are welcome 💙💙

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