Maverick (or how succeeding looks like failure)

Self-proclamation is tiresome. And these concerns for personal branding are exhausting.
Yet we do it,
all we do is [artificial] construction.
Building a career, shaping our profiles, creating networks, constructing our identities.
'For what, for whom?' a wise woman once taught me to ask at all times.
And here I stand, without a ready answer.

Some days I am plagued by the feeling of not having reached the height of my expectations.
Not having ticked all the things on the socially proscribed To Do-list.
I don't own a car, I have no boyfriend, am not thinking about children and I am still hungry.
Hungry for the next good thing. Eager for the coming experience to take my breath away.

But more often than not I am proud.
Proud of sticking to my guns, of never taking the easy way and of always wanting more, taking on more.
Of acting, perhaps, against better judgment, of being predictably irrational and aware of it.
I know my value and that there is much more in me that I want to bring out in the future.

Only in the eyes of others do I see disappointment, lack of understanding and, sometimes, resentment.
It is not my expectations, but the expectations of others on me that I fail to fulfill.
I am the flaky one, no real goals, no sense of duty or responsibility.
I am clueless, it seems. Confused, at best.
Moving from one place to the next, not considering the consequences, how it will look.

And even for someone with ambitions of being an island (entire of itself),
it is difficult to embrace the misunderstanding of others
So I am thankful for those with insights enough to jolt me out of my self-inflicted doubt and tell it like it is.
- But, you are a maverick!

Yes.
I am a maverick.
Synonyms include bohemian, deviant, enfant terrible, free spirit and lone wolf.
An unexploaded dream.



And that is just the way it should be.

The Humble Postcard Movement.

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.

I have met people in different places around the world, in strange or everyday situations, exotic environments or boring classes.
Some have become dear friends, some I've known intensely but briefly, and yet others remain a silent part of my life.

The internet is a great tool for keeping in touch,
but I miss struggling to read someone else's handwriting, cliché postcards from famous sites,
small scribbled notes with unimportant messages.
Don't you?

I want to bring them all back. Let's start writing.
Just send me your adress and I'll kickstart this Humble Postcard Movement,
which has no pretensions except to send thoughts, words and images around the world.
It need not be much more than the three little words 'How are you?'.
On a postcard they are sure to make an impact. 

I hope you will join me in this endeavour and that you will be carried away...
Contact me annasophiabengtsson@gmail.com or @SophiaBengtsson on Twitter to be a part of it.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

and you will be hearing more about this.

                    

The road Taken (so many times)

L'ironia del destino vuole che io sia ancora qui pensando a te

It has returned,
My very own ghost, the voice in my head that is not my own. I've learnt this.

It shakes me to my core.
Throws me off the trodden path if ever for a split second.
Because I forgot.
So many times that eventually I forgot how to really forget.
It is more like a feeling of something remembered than an actually memory.
Lodged in my amygdala, refusing removal except through lobotomy.

They say will-power is like Jesus,
it dies so that it can be restored.
Mine became a martyr on the cross more times than I care to admit,
I wonder how many times it can be resurrected?

And incessantly, inexorably, I wonder,
why my mind constantly chooses this same road.
Two roads diverge in a yellow wood.
And I, as it turns out, never take the one less traveled by.



A net to catch the word that escaped.

I say I like to read and write.
But that is not the whole story.
See, I belong to a rare group of people,with a strange fascination not only for the written word,
but for reading about reading and writing about writing.

The reason I am always quoting Jeanette Winterson, Hélène Cixous and Mario Vargas Llosa
is because they pull off one of the most brilliant acts:
They write about writing about writing.

And, for me, the truth is found in between each and every 'about'.
I am concerned with the places where fact meets fiction, where the latter becomes the former.
All truth lies, who said that?
With every layer, truth and fact are a little more diluted, a little more embedded in their story.
Vargas Llosa's La verdad de las mentiras explains why a good story is always a lie if the author is capable.

A veces sútil, a veces brutalmente, la ficción traiciona la vida,
Encapsulándola en una trama de palabras que la reducen de escala
y la ponen al alcance del lector.
{Sometimes subtle, sometimes brutally, fiction betrays life,
encapsulating it in a plot of words that diminish its scale,
putting it within reach of the reader}

Like a metaphor can illustrate a concept better than a clinically specified description,
so fiction explains life better than any well-intentioned professor.
We often think that finding truth is the key to everything.
And 'keeping things real' is the philosophy of people all over the world.
But rarely do we contemplate what we consider truth to be and how it is found.
And we never stop to think that reality might be a social-construction impossible to strive towards.
Whose reality?

I am drowning in inevitability, but it isn't truth.


on externalities.

Over coffee we got to talking about the past. About how everything changes.
and while a he was explaining how his garden had been changed by nature
for the last 30 years, I could see it all so clearly.

This is what I fear, perhaps the most irrational fear of all.
The thought of spending 30 years in the same house, the same garden.
How do people do it? without reinventing themselves, without changing?
Do they need the outside to stay fixed, while changing on the inside?
But, then again..

I once said I don't believe people don't change.
Then, coming from a bitter place, but maybe, there's something to it.
Is changing externalities just a cover up, to disguise the fact that we never really change?
Is escapism, in fact, not a bohemian lifestyle, but an illusive quest for... what?
Something better? Something bigger? Something?

Despite my settled existence right now,
in my mind I'm always searching, travelling, constantly changing.
Off to the next place, holding out for another adventure, an exciting opportunity, a challenge.
And I must come to terms with this duality or change.
externally?


Trust me, I'm telling you stories.

Certain things should not be thought, let alone put down in writing.
Like how I should be satisfied with all that I am and that is my life.
And still, at times, when the world slows down slightly, I find myself in doubt.

I am one of the lucky ones, indeed the girl with the golden hair.
Responsible, good, successful at what I do.
Doing what I enjoy and am skilled at, all the while making good money.
Living comfortably, without worries and with opportunities everywhere to be found and seized.
Loved people around me- close and far-  but they're out there.
I know all this, and yet, some nights..

I use the term Weltschmerz loosely, knowing it is not quite what I suffer from, but close enough.
Sure, I spend a lot of time dreaming, telling myself stories of other worlds, another time
but what takes up most space is the thought of everything I could be doing.
Right here, in this world, this life.

Suddenly my life appears to me; neat, constrained, compartmentalized.
My choices artificial and their consequences nothing short of a punishment to endure.
Money in the bank and a self-illusive assurances that I am doing the right thing.
And perhaps I am.
But what if I am not?

What does that make me?



Nothing falls into the mouth of a sleeping fox.

despite everything.

(C) Wislawa Szymborska

The catharsis that comes when the story rushes out

What we think is fate is just two neuroses knowing they are a perfect match.
 
Sometimes I think life would be better lived in short sentences.
No explanation, no details. Just a few lines, and that is it.
But then again, what am I doing here? Artificial living?

This thing about fate, what is it?
This desperate will to believe that we have no control.
I suppose it's discomforting to think of ourselves as wandering neuroses, but why kid ourselves?
Is it not more magnificent to imagine another neurosis, just like your own,
Casuallly aligning itself with you?

So unlikely, it must be better than fate.
So unlikely, in fact, that it simply does not come by.
Except it does. it comes in the form of sentences.
Everywhere I read. Everywhere I write.


I think, therefore I am not

I make promises to myself every day.
Silent, shy promises and nobody can ever hold me to them.

I tell myself to write more, write better, to really write.
I say I will follow my dreams, go where my passions take me.
And I promise to be proud of myself, to always be myself,
even when it's inconvenient and problematic.

Somehow, I put much more effort into these promises, than writing, passion and pride.
I write occasionally, feel slightly passionate and sometimes catch myself putting myself down.
Rather than do, I think about doing.
I think so much about actions I should take, there's no space to actually do.

So I do other things.
And I keep thinking.
Promising.



some day.

here's a riddle for you.

I've always been more question than answer.
Constantly asking and secretly hoping that you will, too.
I suppose it is a sign of a split personality.
I suppose it is demanding; never settling for what I know is there.
Always looking for more. Always asking (for) more.

But, despite common belief, questions don't always want answers.
Sometimes they simply want to be asked.
They crave the challenge, the twisting, turning, interpreting, erasing...

I ask questions I hope never to find the answers to.
It is frustrating for you that you cannot solve my riddles.
Because I do not want to be solved.



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