Ellinor’s Theme Song is a short animation in which I sum up my very best life advice in just over a minute. Enjoy!
Instead of writing any of the novels, short-stories or essays I have planned I spend my entire forenoon sipping on coffee and staring unfocused at the screen while just thinking. I think that thinking is my favorite activity. Maybe I should just stop publishing my writing and just sit and think about my stories. Would avoid a lot of hassle.
The contents of my bookshelf is so good that if it somehow came alive as a person I would totally let it fuck me senseless.
The long-awaited summer holiday – but then you mostly lie staring at the ceiling, hoping to fall asleep to avoid the tears of hopelessness. You turn down social gatherings out of weariness, consume unhealthy foods and swell up like a sugar donuts in a deep fryer.
Nothing is quite real, the body hangs loose as you drag yourself off to shop for food, while the self clings to a tunnel opening that leads into fiction’s seemingly comfortable embrace. There you float in relative safety, forgotten by yourself, for a while, then it begins to fade.
Then you long to taste someone happy, so that you can be happy yourself. But you wish in vain. Actually you just lie there sweating on the damp sheets, actually you just lie there all sticky and staring at the ceiling before you finally sink back into half-sleep.
The vipers wrap themselves ever tighter around the heart.
The best thing I know
Is writing in a flow
To enter into fiction
Expanding my dreams
Without any seams
Dissolving my entire self
To coagulate in my shelf
If the thoughts of most people are like dolphins jumping up, one by one, from the blue water of the pool, eating a fish handed to them by their handler, then my mind is a dark and turbulent sea filled with lots of circling shark fins and bites you never see coming.
You perceive me
as a curve,
but to me
I’m just an equation.
Poems are fleeting and eternal. Sharp shards of reality, lacerating splinters of fiction. Fluttering into existing before they are written, stuck in amber once sheathed in words.
Poems are heartpiercing asomatic bloodinjecting reverse-leech entities in symbiotic relationship with corporeal beings that possess at least some kind of rudimentary language.
Poems are. Both, either, neither – catuskotic. Trouble, comfort, brazen, chaste, chaotic, controlled, sparse, dense, sparse and dense, opaque, archaic, original, intense, nonsense.
I am two persons. One is thinking, one is talking. None control the other. So you should know that what I say out loud is only an approximate interpretation of what I’m thinking – not what I’m actually thinking.
My thinking is me; my talking is me. But my writing? Well, my writing is not me – it’s some kind of demonic possession.
Nothing is certain to me at the moment. Who I am, what I do, what I am writing, where I am living, where I am going. I want to do something completely different. I want to move somewhere else. I want to delete every social media because no one on them knows me anymore and I got my actual friends in other channels. I wanna do wage-slavery as little as possible, live a simple and inexpensive life and spend my time on more important things. I’m not sure how I will manage this yet. I need a vision. I need to see beyond the web of illusion that has caught the modern world, that has trapped me here, tired and disillusioned, without knowing what I really want. But change is coming. A seed is planted. Nothing is certain. Everything is permitted.
I circle and return to things I once left.
I repeat a cycle through interests and thoughts.
But the circles gets wider and wider to contain
all the new knowledge and understanding
that I gather every lap around.
My life moves in spirals.
If you look at modern history and politics the last 70 years it becomes more and more plausible that it’s all a consequence of multiple and increasingly complicated time-travel events. They probably started as misguided attempts to correct an initial mistake in altering the original timeline, but then the error cascade escalated beyond control and the time-travelers panicked when their plot got too messy to understand. Either that or we have a world in disarray because of incompetence and chance.
Having explored my psyche extensively for the past few years I’m now turning to the outside. My carefully constructed model of reality needs to acknowledge that reality is indeed real.
Some people gave up too easily. Some wouldn’t give up though it was obviously futile. Some never tried. Some tried too hard. Some didn’t notice they did it. Some never had to do it. Some never knew there was an option. Some thought it was a punishment. Some just laughed at it all.
The ego is a construction that grows more and more rigid with time until it becomes a prison that stops you from exploring and growing. Like a house full of valuables that you can never leave because you have to guard it against thieves.
Ego death, in a magical sense, is a transformation, a temporarily transcendence from self-centeredness, a way of cleaning out bad habits, misconceptions, etc, that bog down the mind, before the inevitable resurrection as a (hopefully) better person follows.
With magic I change reality. But it’s my model of reality that changes, and maybe yours, not actual reality itself. Actual reality may change though, through actions we make as a result of our changes in those inner models of reality.
2020 in review
I got my short-story The DreamCube Thread published in the British anthology Vast. I wrote, recorded and animated Ellinor’s Theme Song. I also published some things under another name, but I’ll ramble about that elsewhere.
On the downside I descended deeper into fatigue and anxiety again (unrelated to Covid-19). All personal development and my work with magic kind of stopped as I lost all energy. I didn’t feel like myself anymore. It felt like I took several steps back. From everything.
2021 in preview
I wanna get a grip of myself again. To feel like a person again. To understand what my goals are. What I want to do. Who I will be. To move forward again. So this year the focus will be on my mental and physical health. This time maybe with the help of professional health care. We’ll see how this turns out.
But while that massive work in progress develops I will probably do more of what I hoped to do last year: write some shorter stories, make some music and hopefully get back into doing more visual art. Whatever emerges will be posted here or maybe my Twitter.
Be seeing you.
I write this as a way to sort out my thoughts, to help me think about difficult and abstract things concerning my self and identity. Not sure if I will reach a conclusion, but that’s not the point, it’s an ongoing identity crisis. Here goes.
The ongoing exploration into being non-binary that I’ve done the last 6-7 years have fizzled into nothing. It takes more energy than, at least half of you, can believe to present feminine in our culture. Then imagine having to start with a masculine body.
It takes a lot of energy being liminal. Constantly being questioned and misunderstood, exposed to prejudice, having to explain, working against opinion, being treated differently, being singled out, even stared at, etc. You have to be strong to be odd.
I got stuck in boy-mode already late last year. And this year has been even worse. My lifelong history of recurring fatigue and depression drained all my energy (unrelated to Covid-19). There was no motivation to justify the effort it takes to get back into girl-mode.
I totally let go of my body. I gave up trying to shape it and present it as I felt it should be. I gained so much weight that I can’t wear any of my femininely coded clothes and instead have to wear my bigger, worn and torn, masculine clothes from before.
There is no motivation anymore. Instead of feeling my gender is in between male and female it feels I have no gender at all. It feels like an act when I present as male, but now even more so when moving towards the feminine. I feel like I lie to people just by them looking at me.
I let my Ellinor side take the controls all those years ago. And she was happy taking the reins after being hidden for so long. She was wild and free and exploring things my other side wouldn’t have done. For those years I was more Ellinor than M. But now it all feels wrong somehow.
Ellinor have stepped back. She was very active and high-maintenance and without fuel she ceased to function. M is back at the rudder as some kind of default setting. He feels almost as if Ellinor was a dream. A happy dream he’s sad to wake up from.
For a while now I have felt more like M again. I know I am fluid. I know I have had these fluctuations before. I once wrote about myself as a binary star. Sometimes the smaller star is hidden behind the bigger one. Maybe that is what’s happening now. Ellinor is hibernating through the Helliconia winter.
So, how do I, M, handle her accounts while she is dormant? There are three options. Continue posting as Ellinor though it will be much more of a pseudonym than it was before. Change the name on the accounts to M. Suspend or close the accounts.
I’m not sure what to do. Ellinor reached some success with getting a short-story published in an anthology. And for some strange reason there were some people that kind of thought she was interesting enough to get friends with. I would like to keep that alive.
Ellinor and M are the same person. But still not the same personality. If you look at Ellinor’s Twitter account you might see a change in tone and subjects about a year ago. Magic and poetry are gone. The house feels empty. Ellinor wrote in English, M is more comfortable with Swedish.
I need some peace and quiet to think. But with work, obligations and, most of all, this brain, it’s difficult to have focused thoughts about the future. Without a plan it is difficult to break out of the rut I am stuck in with both my life in general and my explorations of identity.
Well, maybe next year there will be an opening. I might get help to improve my health. Maybe there is new energy in sight. Maybe I can move on soon? I know I need something new. I have been stuck in the same life for too long. I need change. I want things to be different.
How do I make things different?
Almost every day I’m reading something factually wrong posted on social media without commenting or questioning. Even if it’s a friend posting. Because if I did I would get drawn into a heated argument by an upset OP and with my zero defense against upset people I easily get very distraught and feel bad for the rest of the day. So instead I get irritated at myself, over this exaggerated sensitivity that forces me to leave false information that leads people to false conclusions unquestioned.
Our selves do not end in our bodies. It reaches out, especially to other humans, but also to the whole planet. This intertwining makes egoism impossible. The neurons in our brains are wired from how we were raised and what culture we were exposed to. By purpose and coincidence. We got our parents, our friends and our enemies reaching deep into our physical brains.
Based on past experience the brain, in every moment anew, predicts a model of reality. Senses are mostly used as error correction. The brain considers the state of your body and predicts the best course of action to survive and thrive. It predicts thoughts and emotions. It predicts what we experience as our selves. The self is a non-physical concept. Like a projection. Our brain is a prism and our self is the rainbow.
There is no innate self stored somewhere inside us. A newborn have no experience, no self. We are only born with tools and possibilities. With that the self is constructed by interaction and circumstance. Sometimes it is built by chance and habit. Sometimes it becomes a facade that we believe ourselves. But what may feel as different selves are facets of the same thing – your brain trying to make sense of the world to survive.
Modern neuroscience dispels the myth of our human side having to subdue our animal side in a struggle between the reptilian brain versus the neocortex. In fact it is all one unit, one network, developed all at the same time. Emotions are not uncontrollable beasts that live inside your head and your logic is not a shepherd trying to keep them in check. We have more control than we think.
Our brains are so tuned to predict all the time that they predict things that are not real. It predicts that the stick on the ground is a poisonous snake. Because that is better than to mistake a snake for a stick. The downside is when you get anxiety, which is the brain wanting to get away from a potentially dangerous situation, from having to much to do at work, which is rarely life-threatening.
Anxiety and depression could (at least in part) be results of prediction error. The brain shuts down attention and interest in the world to save resources for anticipated action. Comfort eating works because the brain gets satisfied by stocking up on energy that it expects to release, any minute now, as response to an imminent catastrophe. Which mostly never comes.
But, and here the beauty of it finally comes, prediction can be harnessed for many amazing things. We humans have, on top of physical reality, created a new social reality where intangible things exist. Concepts like Sundays, tickets, red means stop, chess, Osiris, social classes, the Cuba crisis. Many wonderful and horrible things that are not real but still affect us and thereby in extension also affect reality. Dreams, fantasy and fiction are predictions without error correction from reality.
Our lives are predictions. We are predictions. We love predictions. We love taking part in prediction-fiction. The fiction of who we are, the fiction of culture, of religion, of stories, songs and paintings. The arts are predictions which from a safe distance gives us the thrill of trying to figure out whether we see snakes or sticks.
These rambling thoughts are me trying to sort out what I learned from some books on neuroscience I have read lately. One book in particular is How Emotions Are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
At work I sometime get hints about doing things too good. I put a professional touch to what I do and colleagues allude to that being the reason I struggle with fatigue. That’s not the case, there are other reasons. But if anything it’s when I have to do a mediocre or hurried job I get stressed and drained of energy.
Of course I don’t spend too much time on one thing either. I know when enough is enough. But I got a professional pride and do the job I’m hired to do at a certain level. To release something that looks like it’s made by someone with less skill feels very disheartening and I lose all interest and motivation.
We live in a society that generally discourages people from doing their best. Anything above sufficient is systematically punished. High quality is apparently worthless. There’s no profit in anything beyond good enough. The problem is that good enough is the same as almost bad.
I know this is how profit is made. But I can’t stand it. Do not accept crappy things! Demand better things!