Thursday morning. Classical music while having breakfast. Enjoying the moment. I started a new piece last night. It will be a new version of the lava house. I made once of the houses sink to the bottom of the lava ocean while the other one has disappeared into the black sky. It made me cry but at the same time feel a sense of inner peace. I wonder what will happen to the houses. This is such a sad ending to the story, but I have a feeling that they will be fine.
At times, the distance tries to steal me away from Johnny. I feel how the continents move away from each other. How the sky is suddenly ripped apart. How his hand falls out of mine. Just for a short moment he is gone, lost in the distance and faded from my world. Just for a moment. It is so painful. It isn’t the sky that is ripped apart – it is my heart.
Then everything shifts back. I feel his hand in mine. The presence of his heart inside me. Our continents blurred into one little island.
It is hard to love someone on the other side of the world, not that it’s hard to love them – but because the distance has hungry claws.
Tuesday morning. I am sitting in my kitchen, staring up at the clouds and observing the wild birds fly by outside the skylight. I am deep into my PMS hormones and all the uncomfortable symptoms. My body is bloated and I am feeling like a combination between a whale and a balloon. It is ridiculous. I can’t wait for these days to be over. I know I need to lose some weight. I used to comfort myself by eating sweets and now it’s hard to get rid of the extra weight. My body doesn’t look like me, I don’t feel at home in it anymore. I refuse to look at it when I am in the shower.
Perhaps on some subconscious level, the unwanted weight is part of some kind of self-sabotage. It is hard to be in a long distance relationship – and I guess if I would to feel more beautiful and attractive, I would also have more desire to have sex. This ballooned body might serve as a physical wall of protection of my relationship – and of my own happiness. Because I feel rather sexually starved. I long for a man’s hands on me. I miss the weight of a man. Deep breaths in my ear. Against my skin. I miss the sensation of nails digging into my back. My thighs.
It has been a year since Johnny was here and by this time, I have forgotten the sweet taste of his kiss.
At times I think I am going insane from the hunger I feel inside. But I feel hungry in so many ways – for so many different things. Hunger makes you feel a little desperate at times. It is also the hunger that makes you feel alive. I do not envy people who have lost their hunger. I’d much rather go crazy because I feel such drive to devour the world (my world), than to be content and OK with being all dried up inside.
My digital piece “Iceland” from 2015 is also a visual poem, based on my long distance relationship with Johnny.
I’m at my parent’s house, I couldn’t bring myself to go home to an empty apartment. I feel sad but at the same time happy and grateful for the moments we’ve shared together in real life, so far. When you are building a home together in a long distance relationship, it is impossible to take anything for granted. Time. Love. Life in general. A long distance relationship is a good reminder of how precious life is – how rare it is to find someone you can connect with on a deeper level – and how time can work both as a highway to common goals and as an invisible wall of limitations and restrictions.
I am thankful that I live in a part of the world – and in a time where time difference as a concept is merely a nuisance and not an impossible obstacle. We are always connected through chats, emails or Skype. It is possible to create an everyday life together through those channels, but of course it lacks many dimensions.
I’m thinking about the sheets in my bed. They still have his scent. My whole bed smells like him. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or if it will make me miss him even more. I don’t want to go home right now. What is home anyway? At the moment I’m not sure.
Outside, summer is making one last performance. Blue skies. Sunshine. Heat. But it doesn’t fool me – I can feel a new season comming. And with Johnny gone, I feel like there’s a new season waiting for me in my life as well. I’ve been so focused on our time together (and the involuntary foucus on all my health issues this summer) – now it’s time to go back to dealing with the restoration of my life. Reclaiming things. Explorations. Working on my self-empowerment. Finding a job. Getting back into the art world. Make more paintings. I have a lot to do.
But right now, I just want to go home to those sheets.
I feel like fall is approaching. It’s windy and the air is slightly crisp. I love that. And it’s only a couple of weeks until my love will come here and we’ll get to share the wind and everything else, together. Against all odds, we have found something solid and beautiful together that doesn’t get affected by the distance or the frustration of being apart. For the first time in my life I have all the patience I need.
I’ve also allowed myself to have doubts. I am so used to being ‘slurped’ by other men in my past, I mean I was seduced by their attention so much so that I was swallowed up by it and couldn’t think straight. Like I was spellbound and drugged by it. I didn’t get a chance to feel if it felt right or not, or to have any doubts. I am very cautious about the slurping now. I know it’s a manipulation just to catch me, and once they have me, they are very different from what they first appeared to be. It’s creepy. The slurping effect is like buying a fancy car and then realizing you are sitting in a cardboard box that just looks like a real car.
I am all about authenticity and being vulnerable and real together. No wonder I’ve been miserable in my past relationships. Some people think that you should work hard to GET someone – to work really hard in the hunting process, but once they have you, they stop making an effort and they let go of their commitment and focus. I believe in the opposite thing: the hard work starts once you feel like you are committed, when you have built some trust together. That’s when you can create something truly beautiful and magical together. And I won’t ever let go of the commitment or the focus on the connection, because that’s when it all goes to hell.
All the doubts have led back to the same place, and it’s the home we are creating together. In each other and in the world. And there is no place like home.
Building a long distance relationship isn’t easy. Especially not when the distance contains both an ocean and a time difference of 9 hours. We share our days and nights together but never at the same time; when it’s day here it’s night over there and vice versa. It’s more than 5000 miles from the West coast of the US where Johnny lives to the East coast of Sweden where I live.
Then there’s the overhanging shadow of the inevitable question: “Who will eventually move to another continent, him or me?”. It’s not an easy decision and it never feels completely accurate because there are so many aspects to consider. Practical things. Family. Proximity to an ocean (important for both of us). Climate (we both dislike heat). Cultural stimulation. A base for success. Job opportunities. Language skills. Health issues. Safety.
I’ve never felt like I belong here in Sweden. I don’t feel Swedish in any sense really. I see this as a very positive quality, but it also makes me feel like a misfit. My art is so different from the work of my Swedish colleagues. But it’s not all a negative thing – I could start an art movement here. If I wanted to. I could make a change, I could make a difference, I know that. In the US, my art would make more sense, but there would be a harder competition. I wouldn’t be as much of a misfit over there, for better or for worse. Johnny is a writer and could write anywhere, but he wouldn’t have access to a community of any American writers here.
But then there’s the question of safety and health care systems – and to me, the American systems are very harsh and ungenerous. We don’t have the issue of gun violence here and the last time Sweden went to war was in the early 1800’s. Sweden is a pretty peaceful place if you compare it to most parts of the world. Frankly, the blood dripping history of the US intimidates me. And all those guns, the easy access to weapons – and the pride that goes with the second amendment totally creeps me out. I just don’t understand it. When I think about America, I think about Disney, Coke, movies, pop culture and amazing art, but I also think of war, guns, violence, unimaginable poverty and horrible prisons. We don’t have that kind of poverty here. There are no ghettos and you have to work hard to really fuck it up in order to become a homeless person. We have a lot of safety nets here. I just landed in those nets after I became ‘homeless’ after my last breakup a couple of years ago when I was in between apartments without any income. I’m proud to say that those safety nets really do work. I feel very grateful.
The biggest issue for me when it comes to making a decision to move to the States or not – is the nightmare of the American health care system and the whole insurance thing. We don’t have a health care system with the connection to an insurance based on income or jobs here, we are all equally privileged to get (almost free) health care and medical treatment. I have health issues. I need constant medication for my sensitive skin and my allergies. And I will always be a hardworking artist – not a starving artist perhaps, but I doubt that I will make a lot of money in this lifetime. In the US, I would be insured through Johnny’s work, but I’ve worked so hard to become independent, I would never want to be dependent on somebody else to keep myself healthy or alive. The American health care system is something of a deal breaker for me. It’s a horrible system and if I moved to the States, my allergies would get worse because of the stress and worries the system would cause – and Johnny would benefit from our insurance free system.
We are still talking about all the practical details of an eventual (and inevitable) move across the Atlantic Ocean, 5000 miles away from what we consider home right now. But I think, all and all, Sweden can offer more benefits and a better base for a good life than the US can offer, at least at this moment in our lives. And if Trump wins the election, well – then this matter is a no brainer!
The balance between vulnerability and trust is the key to a deep intimacy and a love that can survive a huge geographical distance, time differences, problems or any obstacles. I feel so fortunate.
“You fill me with details only you have in you to share. Our private little world is the best creation I know”. I could feel the warmth of every word you shared with me in that moment. We were naked in both daylight and moonlight, with our bodies entangled – but on each side of the world. And with 9 hours cutting the reality in two parts. I am always in your future, and at times, you live within the remains of my yesterday. But we are still able to share a wondrous space together – that’s slowly expanding but somehow trapped in the one dimensional, digital echoes of our voices but released by the softness of the timeless time in our moments.
The details. Secrets of our true selves, invisible for everyone else to see. How is it that it’s so easy to see them when we share our moments together – they were never invisible to me, and they were never invisible to you.
You are slowly taming my beast within – I am unleashing the grotesque. It’s shocking. I meet myself, inverted into charcoal in a dense, dark light. Rotten heartache. Ancient. Mutating. Always dancing. But you refuse to dance with it.
Beyond the unbearable distance, is our home. Time is both the ocean between us and the bridge stretching across the wild waves. Untameable. Hunger. So close. Closer. You devour my heart. Pixel by pixel.
I’m feeling restless. Frustrated. In my mind, I am trying to expand my body so it can reach all the way across the Atlantic ocean to America, so I can wrap myself around the man I love. To melt with him in every way possible – or I guess in all the impossible ways. To fall in love is easy, but to build a real and solid foundation of a relationship with someone on the other side of the world is hard. It is hard work and takes a lot of ambition, to overcome the frustration and to deal with the two dimensional world of talking on the phone. But I’ve never felt closer to anyone in my life. We have created a world of our own, our home, with sensuality and intimacy as the core of that home. It is an incredible experience.
If I close my eyes while we are talking, I can feel how the two dimensional reality is dissolving and transforming into a timeless room, filled with warm light and body heat. It’s all there, in the silences between us, or in the sound of his voice – our world and its strong heartbeats. He can touch me gently with his breath, in places I don’t even recognize in myself, he can light my fire so easily by looking at me through the digital blindness.
I didn’t know it could all be there, without me being there at all. Physically I mean. But he will be here – soon. Only a month to go until I can wrap myself around the man I love.