Bob Dylan - "The Times They Are A-Changin '"
Sometimes when I’m walking home from school, I think in a narrative or in chronicle form.I discuss in my head different subjects back and forth, hoping for a new insight or a new approach.Sometimes it stresses me because I want to remember all thoughts, and I often wish that the long piece that I just thought of was written down, but then it's too late.
Today after school I discussed (in my mind) what I call the Swedish anxiousness. You should never generalize but sometimes it is necessary to clarify a point. In this case, I may not even have a point, and it may just be a lot of repetitions of what people have already noted millions of times, but sometimes it may be a good idea to bring those thoughts that are buzzing around in my head.
I thought about how much it makes you think about things coming to a new country, especially a country that has very different cultures, views, traditions and religions. It also does something to you, meeting people whose upbringing has been absolutely terrible, where there have been trailer parks, heroin-addict mothers and absent dads. Siblings who have taken their lives and classmates to me who already have children and drowning in debts.
This obviously happens everywhere, but I have never personally seen it this close. It's so different to hear it straight from a person in front of you instead of when you see human fates under terrible circumstances on the tv or reading about it in newspapers it's suddenly seems so real.
And your values, which I think, are a lot about past experiences. I believe, like many others, that we are affected so much by the outside, especially if we have lived in one place, talked to a certain group of people and been surrounded by a certain kind of culture throughout life. There is not much to choose from, and there is nothing else that can affect us much more than what the small group of people around us is telling us. You simply become restricted.
When I talked to my wise mother on the phone earlier today, we were talking about this. How much it makes sense to you, hearing about other people's history, and how I feel that Sweden is a rather anxious country, compared to what I have experienced in the United States so far.
Sweden is a great country for me in many ways, now that I have something else to compare with. If I had lived in, for example, Kabul or Guatemala, I would obviously see a bigger difference, but just moving to another welfare country, it does quite a bit. It may seem ridiculous that I'm sitting here and having opinions already after just two months in a new country, but I don’t mean that I'm a pro or I'm right in my opinions. I only have a new approach to Sweden.
When I write about an anxious Sweden, I mean that we have a strong need to belong to something. We have so many "labels". And while I think it’s largely because we are so privileged in many ways in Sweden, I also think it's about all the spare time and the opportunities that we actually have to make these kinds of decisions. In many other countries there is no time or opportunity to opt for dairy products or gluten. And in other countries you can’t swipe left on tinder, reject and choose people based on their appearance in the way we can. We are greedy.
I talked to one in my class earlier today that I read an article about a Swedish girl who chose to become, among many other things, something called climaterian and anarchist-privitist, she was also gluten-sensitive and milk allergic. There were many different types of "labels" and rules that made me feel that she seem very limited and, above all, anxious. When I discussed this with my classmate from San Diego, she told me she grew up in a two bed apartment with four siblings and a mom who worked night and double shifts. On a good day, there were fruit loops with fresh milk or pizza for dinner and on a less good day they got biscuits and "eggos" (an American waffle you put in your toaster). In her world, there was no choices celiac intolerant or not.
To me things get difficult and anxious when you have to tell the world about what you are, who you are and all your opinions. People want to tell others with the help from a hashtag that they are a "polygamist", "lacto-ovo-vegetarian", antifeminist, "environmentalist" or whatever they can be.
To me, self-esteem is about having opinions, "wrong" or "right" does not play such a big role, (if it doesn't go to the extreme) but opinions and thoughts that you don’t need to evenly and constantly claim for everyone around you. Not to let anything go to the extreme, whatever it's about. Whether it is food, exercise, politics, relationship, feminism etc.
Just leaning back, with your opinions and thoughts that you hold to yourself because you are 110% sure about them. And I think that the stronger a person thinks about something, or the more opinions a person have, the more anxious or insecure she or he is, and less open-minded.
And the fear of one's opinions are wrong, maybe even be a little embarrassing. I can honestly say that in one of my earlier relationships I hated strawberry jam, because my boyfriend thought it was the most disgusting thing he knew. It was “wrong” to like it, so I pretended for two years that I hated strawberry jam, when I actually love it. Now that might have been a very innocent example, but I'm working on it.
Here comes another recognition; something that may make my father a bit disappointed.
This song I’ve liked since first grade and I still do.
(And no, I never understood what the lyrics was about until perhaps the age of 12 or 13. I was a late bloomer.)
Forgive me Dad, you just have to take it or leave it.