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Journal

Entering 2021

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.

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Journal

Who are we?

Dear diary,
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?

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Journal

Too sensitive for socmed

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.

Categories
Philosophy

Selves, snakes and sticks

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 what we see are snakes or sticks.

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Journal

Good enough = almost bad

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!

Categories
Micro-stories

Wrong turns

I took some wrong turns and now I’m driving deeper and deeper into the dense forest on a dirtroad. Nowhere to turn around. No idea where I was going. Not since I lost the map. Getting dark. The battery is discharging. Can’t see myself in the rear view mirror, so not sure what face I wear.

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Journal

It’s hours to take

I put my book away, turned off the light and tried to sleep. Now, in the darkness, I’m instead getting more awake. I notice that the pillow is bumpy in the wrong way. I think that the subscription for the skills I need at work must have expired. I remember my ex being worried that I had no plan even for my nearest future. My legs are dry and itching and I should put some lotion on them. But if I do I can’t hold my book without messing up the cover. And if I can’t fall asleep soon I have to turn on the lights and read again.

Categories
Philosophy

The magic selves

Our selves don’t exist. We don’t have an I when we are born. I am not something unique or predestined we are born with. It is something we continuously create in the now our entire lives.

We build concepts that we call I from all we experience, or learn, about our bodies, our environment and our social reality. It is not constant, it changes with new knowledge, experience and ideas.

Our selves are inseparable from our bodies. The self is our body. The self change when the body change. Influenced by the self, or other persons selves, the body can in turn also change.

We have one self, but that self has many instances. Created by many networks in the brain it becomes an overlapping palette of personalities that are granted dominance in different situations.

All these concepts we create are what makes up our concept of reality. What we think is real is just a model of reality. The concepts change which causes our perception of reality to change

Working actively with trying to change the self, an by extension changing other peoples selves, by transforming concepts is what I in many previous posts on this website have referred to as magic.

It is however important to remember that magic doesn’t exist, even if it’s real. Because magic is also a concept that we create. Much like our selves. So we use one concept to change another concept.

We are all conceptions.

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Journal

Hope, help, endure

Not only do I have mood swings, I also have ability swings. And by that I mean my ability to do things fluctuate wildly. Some days I’m rather good at what I do – other days I struggle to manage even what I normally consider easy tasks. This is unfortunately mostly noticeable at work.

Maybe it’s like this: I am good at what I do, but I just can’t do it on order. I got good at media production because I did it for myself, when I felt like doing it. Now that I work with it I have to do what others tell me. And that won’t bring me the hyper focus I get from exploring my own ideas.

Knowing I can do something but having to spend twice, and often even more, time than usual is incredibly frustrating. But impossible to force. I once read someone comparing this feeling to having sex. If you’re not turned on it doesn’t matter how much you try to obey the orders and just come.

In some ways, having that incredibly boring, unqualified job I had for a while many years ago, was easier. On good days I just escaped into my brain while my body was working. On bad days I was a robot, sometimes half asleep while still working. I did the same quota of work every day either way.

I had nothing to live up to. I wasn’t an award-winning feature film director that suddenly didn’t know how to make a simple three minute film about how municipality clerks are supposed to archive their documents. No reputation of being capable and competent to uphold.

So on bad days I think I should quit my current job and not having to manage all the anxiety it can bring. But that would force me out of a job with great co-workers, good salary and that is actually pretty good on my good days. Only my stubbornness keeps me from escaping into the wild.

After being like this for my whole life I have finally come to understand that both mood swings and ability swings are consequences of chemical imbalances in my brain. Lifelong strategies and recent cognitive behavior therapy has helped, but is not enough.

Now I’m embarking on a journey into psychiatric care to see if I get to do a medical investigation for ADHD. If I get a diagnosis maybe medication will help. If it’s not ADHD my problems are caused by something else and I’m back to square one. Maybe there is nothing to do but endure.

Of course I do not wish to have a diagnose. But by getting it I would know why I feel the way I feel, why I work the way I work, and get access to tools to handle myself better. It feels kinda unreal. Maybe there is a reason to why I am like this. And maybe I could feel happy some day.

Hope often hurts, but it keeps us alive.


I have absolutely no control over what I write. I’ve written almost nothing for weeks now. And then, out of the blue, I had to pause the episode I was watching and go to my computer to write the following. Only later I found out that it by coincidence is World Mental Health Day today. So let’s consider this my unexpected contribution.

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Journal

Drawn to the water

I love drawing, but very seldom do it. I get stuck when trying to decide which one of all my ideas to choose. Despite this will to draw I end up doing nothing. The ideas tumble in my head, while the paper remains white.

This may not sound like much of a problem. But it applies to many things in my life and is kind of crippling. I often feel paralyzed and unable to perform even simple tasks. Things I’m usually good at can take twice the time. Or more.

It’s a strong inertia that I have to fight every day. Inspired by a picture I saw somewhere I use to describe it like this: While other people are running on the beach, playing and having fun, I am deadly tired from trying to run along, but neck deep out in the waves of the sea.

The metaphorical drawing pad and pen is in my bag up on the beach and though I long to draw I’m stuck in the water. It’s too tiresome to struggle to the shore and dry up to draw only for a few minutes before I have to go back into the water.

So despite my potential I stay in the water to conserve energy. I see the achievements of others. I see opportunities drift by. Life slipping away while meaninglessness slips in. I get anxious and depressed. I feel kind of imprisoned in myself.

Constantly I think of escape. From the water, from the beach. I could retreat to an island where there is nothing I have to do. Where I could just be. Maybe then I could muster the energy to choose something to draw once in a while.

But here I sit, alone in the water and can’t get up.

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Journal

Talk me down

A friend heard my voice over the phone. She asked if I was alright, said I sounded so fragile. I hadn’t noticed myself, but when I started to listen to myself I realized I was in some kind of light anxiety attack.

I wanted to talk and explain, but though I was grasping for words, I was constantly losing my breath just from talking. Not quite coherent, close to overwhelm, frustrated over not being able to talk properly.

But her listening and answering, her concern and questions, grounded me, pulled me back from my anxiety. Took me out of my spinning thoughts, back to reality. Eventually I managed to calm down.

We humans are extraordinarily equipped to deal with problems together. Social groups – friends – is the greatest strength we have. Together we can face any hardship. All will be well.

Categories
Poetry

Electric feel

I lost my phaze, I’m disturbodied, I walk like amother, the needless in my language appoints to red, I dream of talking dog-gods, I survive on amino acid supplamentings, I ridle the lightning-wave of the missilent mygrains, I subduel the statictrical chaos awry moonment.

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Journal

The Anxiousness Express

It’s interesting what we can hide from ourselves. It was not until a while ago when I realized that the Swedish word ångest translates in English, not only as anguish, but also as agony and anxiety, that I accepted that I actually do suffer from ångest, but in the less severe form anxiety.

I’ve realized that my anxiety is not just ordinary worry, but something much more energy draining. The constant ruminations about present and possible future problems is not just thinking ahead, it’s overthinking ahead. Almost subconscious and always uncontrollable.

One reason for my constant stress, why I want to hurry so with publishing my novels, and why I want to finish all my creative projects asap, is because of a very troublesome thought that I can’t get rid of. I always have this relentless feeling that I will die soon.

Of course there’s no substantial reason for this apprehensive urgency to put my affairs in order. It’s a hypochondriac over-interpreting of minor issues that gets fed into the anxiety-loop and amplifies until I get this nightmarish dread of impending doom.

Sometimes I handle this by thinking nihilistic thoughts. If I’m about to die then nothing matters anyway. I’ll just do something fun and eat lots of chocolate until it happens. Sometimes I obsess and work myself into exhaustion to make the most of the time while I can.

Though I often claim to be very liminal this is an area where I’m always at the extreme ends of the scale. The massive amounts of energy needed to reach those ends are extracted through anxiousness and leave few resources to other endeavors, like daily life.

I don’t think my worries are any different from what most people wrestle with. Death, health, body, mind, parents, relationships, friends, work, money, existence and all. Like relentless carriages in a train. We’re all welcome aboard The Anxiousness Express.

Well, the first step is to realize that my anxiety isn’t my normal state. The second is getting an overview of the subconscious strategies I’ve put in place to hide this from myself. Third is to find ways to divert the energy pouring down this black hole into something more constructive.

Stay tuned to this journal to find out what happens next!

Categories
Animation

Ellinor’s Theme Song

I’ve animated a video for a song I wrote. The lyrics are based on my life motto. So this is essentially 66 seconds of life wisdom. Enjoy!

Categories
Philosophy

Neverending

A human is not one individual being. Inside us all there are many separate systems that negotiates with each other all the time. If you take a Jungian stance the mind consists of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious, all with separate values and goals, that together make up what we think of as our selves.

But the mind does not exist ex nihilo. It all arises from physical processes in our bodies. Our brains contain a multitude of overlapping networks that create many different instances of prediction, conceptualization and decision that compete for dominance.

Add to that the influence of both neurons and bacteria in the gut system, the reflex arcs of the spinal chord and many other autonomic regulatory processes. Then we start to see the complexity of the conglomerate that is a human being. We think with our whole bodies.

And it it does not stop within our bodies. There are numerous external connections that are impossible to omit when considering who we are and how we act. Cultural conventions, social interaction, political discourse, access to resources, different environments, and even the daily change in weather – it all greatly affects us, our behavior and our self-image.

Our minds are inextricably intertwined with the whole body. Our bodies are likewise inextricably interconnected with the whole outside world. We are not isolated individuals. We are highly connected networks. From our innermost thoughts to the utmost edges of the universe.

Our selves never end.

Categories
Poetry

Dark fish

Small dark fishes are chewing on my heart. I see parts of me float with the bubbles. Ascending to the surface. To the waiting birds. I can not stop the decay. I am the weight that keeps me down. The fish keep chewing on my heart.

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Journal

Hidden thinking

There is a lot of hidden thinking going on in my head. I feel thoughts and things happening in my brain, but they are not conscious, I can’t perceive them. It’s as if I’m shut out from some of my thinking. It’s grinding in the background and then suddenly I have an idea or feeling I don’t know where it came from. But it must be from these hidden thoughts.

I walk a lot in my apartment. Back and forth between rooms. I know I am thinking all the while, I feel something going on deep in my mind. It often happens when I know there is information to process, decisions to make. But there are no clear, conscious thoughts. Just me walking – as if waiting for a letter with instructions to pop in through the letterbox.

So I don’t think in words or images all the time. Sometimes it’s just a feeling of activity, maybe machine code being computed, and I can only access the result. Sometimes not even that. We all have lots of sub-conscious processes, but this feels more like I have a whole other consciousness parallel to the one that is “me”. Like a neighbor I occasionally hear through the wall.

Well, I have no conclusion to reach about this, no insight at the end of this journal post. At least not yet. But I wonder: Do anyone of you think non-understandable thoughts?

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Journal

Traits and clusters

Hi, I’m Ellinor Kall. And I’m also not. Ellinor is a fiction, but she is also me, and I am her, and we are but clusters of personality traits among many overlapping sub-persons sharing a brain and body. I’ll try to explain.

As humans we all have different mindsets when we do different things. One state of mind when doing a difficult math exam, one when performing music onstage, one when doing heart surgery, one when cuddling a loved one.

We can do all these different things, but only one at a time, cause I could never even answer what 9+14 is if asked in the middle of a concert with my band or write a thoughtful poem while driving in a chaotic city at rush hour.

So what I’ve done is to give one of those mindsets a name: Ellinor. When I’m alone, in a certain mood, often with music in headphones, thinking about certain topics, when writing, etc, I get into this mental state that is Ellinor.

I’ve always been a bit outside the box, never really identifying as man or woman, and having a fluid sexuality, so adopting a female persona on top of my male body never felt odd to me, I only wonder why it didn’t happen sooner.

There is a lot of writing all over this website, and in all my writing, about me coming to understand that I have this strong feminine side if you want to know more about the process.

Sometimes it felt like a wonderful realization and freedom to not suppress a big part of myself, and sometimes it turned into a tiresome and depressing war with myself, and especially with the appearance of my body.

At the moment we’re at a truce. I try to accept that this body is what we got to work with. Ellinor have to live in the brain and on the internet. She is my internet-body. And she has to be a passenger out in the physical world (even if she is a bit of a cat person and hate not being in control).

I also keep two journals. One in Swedish, often more mundane, what I’ve done during the day and interactions with people. One in English, with more emotions and philosophy. This text started as a journal note for instance.

Why a foreign language in the journal? Well, it started with most of Ellinor’s friends being English-speakers on the internet. And then it does something to the thought process when thinking and writing in another language. You think and express a bit differently.

I usually like to point out in new internet-places that I figure in that there is this fictional aspect to me, that Ellinor is not a cis-female, so that no one will feel like I am trying to deceive them, cause that is not my intention.

While my parts are on the outside, my hearts are on the inside. The sum is some kind of non-binary, liminal, queer, why-do-we-have-to-categorize-everything, anarchistic conglomerate of fuzzy pieces that is me.

So while all this may sound complicated it is the best way for me to make sense of the patchwork of traits and personality clusters that is me. I am a state of mind that is called Ellinor Kall. And I am not.

Well, I’m not sure if this rambling explanation actually explained anything, but I’ll post it anyway!

Categories
Micro-stories

Fading advice

She took my hand with a kind smile and looked into my eyes. As she faded away – while I slowly awoke – she said: “If you try to fly on symbolic wings you will fall.”

Categories
News

News | 2020-06-16

A new review gives great praise to the anthology Vast and my short-story The DreamCube Thread.

“I particularly enjoyed Ellinor Kall’s The DreamCube Thread, with it’s playful use of form balanced against an interrogative line of thought about the nature of thought itself and the interconnectivity of minds. This represents everything I love about speculative fiction.”

From a review by Gem Jackson

Read the whole review here!

Read more about Vast here!