No interference

I’ve been painting, meditating, watching films and drinking tea. It’s a good day. It’s been a good week. A good month too, so far. Johnny and I are getting closer. Hearing his voice through the earbuds while closing my eyes, almost transports him here, next to me. There is no static between us. No interference. Only love.

I’ve never let any man come this close before. It used to terrify me, this closeness, even though it’s been my highest wish to be really close to someone. But I am not afraid anymore. I decided not to be. It was that easy. But getting through all the obstacles so I could make that decision was very difficult.

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2015

When we talk, we float into each other, melt together in the silences and through the laughs and we’re cleansing our hearts together, deep inside our invisible home. I know it will take years for us to be together in real life, but it doesn’t change anything. I feel happy. I feel close. Our intimacy outsmarts the missing and the frustration.

Next year will be so different from this year, I can already sense it. This year was all about letting go and to accept what I’ve never been able to accept. Next year will be about finding the pulse of life and getting in sync with it. I want to lose weight. I’ve had so much extra weight on my shoulders for a very long time, and it shows in my body as well. I want to feel beautiful. Healthy. I want to celebrate my femininity. My raw female power and strength. I want to do, to be, to make, instead of healing through the intellect and meditation. Next year will be my first real year as a person, without the traumas or the fear. I’ve worked so hard to get there. I am so close. I am so close to finding life. To letting myself go – without inhibitions. I am so close to whatever reality is about, without the dark edges around it.

What Johnny’s heart has taught me

I’m enjoying this grey and rainy Saturday by listening to classical music and meditating. I am fighting every stress symptom by making breathing exercises and pushing away any negative thoughts. They don’t have a place in my mind. Nor do they live in my heart anymore. My poor little heart. It hasn’t had an easy life, but it is still beating, it’s still filled with all the red fire it was born to produce with every breath. So, it isn’t that damaged. I’ve never let any hate inside it. It’s never been completely drained.

My love affair with Johnny has been so good for my heart. He’s taught me so much about humility, self-compassion and love. I thought I knew everything there was to know about love. The passion. The all-consuming energy. The pain. The fear. The neglect and the rejection. But it turned out that I didn’t know much about love at all. Johnny has showed me how to build a home between two hearts, not only to keep each other company, but to create a whole new heart inside our home. Something which is breathing all by itself, something that has a heart, a mind and spirit but is invisible to the eye. Our love is not about passion or simple companionship, but a creation formed by mutual respect, caring and the way we see each other and appriciate what we see. Both each other’s many beauties and beasts. And we are completely naked in front of each other and ourselves. Vulnerability is the only place where all this is possible to experience. And I’m learning how to trust. How to let go of the fear to get hurt. To be fooled. Betrayed. And destroyed. I’m slowly learning how to move through this feeling of deep love without wanting to protect myself from it. That’s the naked part.

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Johnny has showed me how important it is for me to see myself without looking for those eyes in other people. It’s been difficult for me to see myself without judging what I see. Without wondering if I’m enough. If I am lovable. Worthy of happiness. Before I let Johnny into  my heart I was in many ways a masochist. Looking for punishments. Humiliation. Darkness. Because I thought I belonged there. That I deserved it. He was there, in the beginning, holding my hand through other destructive love affairs with self-proclaimed victims that I wanted to rescue or mirrored myself through. I felt helpless and drained by those toxic connections. Johnny picked me up, every time I fell. He was always there for me – not because he wanted to be a hero, but because he actually cared about me.

I am softer now, to myself and to other people. Johnny’s gentle heart has inspired mine to be less rough and raw and to embrace empathy and tolerance. I was pretty brutal with my heart before. I wasted its blood, the beats and I let anyone stay in its rooms even though they didn’t deserve to be there at all.  I am starting to protect my heart without shutting out love and the warmth from people who truly deserves to be inside it. I am very grateful for having this wonderful man in my life and in my heart. We both give and take from the knowledge which our hearts have collected throughout our lives.  We share everything because it all feels important somehow. Even the smallest details. The nonsense. The everyday stuff that will be forgotten by tomorrow. But at least we got to share them with each other. It cures the loneliness of the heart. It creates a home where life is welcoming the insignificant moments as well as the significant ones Where everything has a meaning and is not wasted or taken for granted.

Holy Hell

The summer is still hanging on even though it’s about to be fall. It has been the hottest September in 160 years here in Sweden. I absolutely loathe heatwaves. I miss rainy days, dark clouds, stormy weather, grey skies and fresh air. But I guess these are the last days of summer.

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From “Holy Hell” (2016)

I watched a great documentary on Netflix yesterday –  “Holy Hell”, about a charismatic spiritual teacher who formed a cult in California in the 80’s, called “Buddafield” and the filmmaker was documenting the events and lives of the members, with his camera, during his 22 years with the cult. I am very creeped out by most religious beliefs and spirituality that is based on a leader (a God or a teacher) and the submission of his followers. People might think I’m into religious spirituality because I’m writing so much about the inner core and how to embrace the inner world. But I’m not. I am so not into that at all.

"Ship of Fools" by Mia Makila. 2008

“Ship of Fools” by Mia Makila. 2008

When you hear religious or spiritual people talk about being filled with light and energy from reaching some kind of spiritual ecstasy, they always describe an “out of body experience”, like the spirit has been liberated from the physical body. To me this is the opposite of what I want to experience. For a person who has been dealing with PTSD for two decades, and a dissasociative disorder, where you separate your mind from your body to survive traumatic experiences and memories, there is nothing holy or liberating about the out of body experience.

2014

2014

Once you start to protecting yourself with the dissasociative state, it is hard to go back to experiencing things with both body and mind connected. I still separate myself at times, even though I’m not going through another trauma. I separate during sex. In arguments. In situations where I don’t feel safe.

This is also visible in my art from a year that was particular hard for me – where I only created octopuses. An octopus doesn’t have a body, only a big head with tentacles dangling underneath:

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From my old blog:

“It was so easy for me to separate my emotional experiences from my carnal existence. In some situations I could actually feel how I disappeared, how I drifted, far, far away from myself and abandoned my body – just as I felt abandoned by life and love.
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When you are sexually, emotionally or physically humiliated and destroyed, you feel completely invisible. To not be seen, to be ignored, to not be listened to – even though you are pleading for your life, trying to connect with the abuser to stop the violence and humiliation,, you are completely extinguished as a human being, not only emotionally but in a way even physically. You feel invisible. Your body is still there, but it doesn’t matter. You are just an object, a meat blob. Like closing your eyes but still being able to see everything that is happening around you, everything that is happening  – to you.”
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The most significant thing for me now is to reconnect and experience life (and myself) with everything I am. It is the most spiritual thing I can imagine – to experience happiness, creativity and pleasure where I am deeply connected between mind, body and spirit.
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It isn’t about finding a light in other people – or from a divine leader to be able fill the void inside your soul, it’s all about finding it within yourself and then do something wonderful with it – as a contribution to the external world. That is what spirituality is to me. A self-intimacy and self-compassion that turns into a balanced and warm energy that I want to share with other people. It is simply about taking responsibility for your own happiness and then sharing it with the world – or with somebody else who is your equal so you won’t lose that sense of inner balance and connection. The beautiful inside-the-body-experience.
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The scent of time and love

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.

The slow process of becoming truly naked

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It’s been raining all night, the world outside my window is wet and covered in a misty glow. Johnny is still sleeping, next to me, the bed is warm and so is my heart. He will leave the day after tomorrow. It’s ironic because I’m starting to feel a little better – and we’ve just found our own perfect groove. Building a relationship where you have half a planet in between is harder than I thought, but also exciting and very rewarding. We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t really love each other, then it wouldn’t be worth the effort. Nothing has ever come easy to me, I’ve always been fighting for the things that matters to me, so I am used to struggle – but this particular thing requires a lot of patience and that’s not my best feature. If you’ve found true love, you want to surround yourself with it all the time, it’s only natural. But this way, we’ll prolong the first delicate stages of a love story – and that’s beautiful. Every time we’ll meet we’ll know each other so well but at the same time be like strangers to each other in some aspects. We know each other to the core but there are so many things left to explore in the physical world. And we’ll get to do that in little chunks of time, every year.

What I’ve learned from these two weeks with Johnny is that it takes time for both of us to acclimate to each other when we get together – it takes a week or so to leave the worlds we know – in order for us to create our own. In our world he is not a guest in my apartment, but home. In our world nothing is perfect or done because of expectations – we try to avoid it as much as possible because we are both sensitive to the pressure of it. It is hard to let go of it because of course we both have expectations and visions before we meet, of how it will be like.

To be naked together takes time – and I don’t mean physically naked. That’s where we feel most at home, in the nakedness of each other’s hearts and minds. That’s where the heartblood flows without any resistance at all. Into every moment.

A crash course in “us”

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Things rarely happen the way you plan it, but the unexpected always brings something positive with it. This time with Johnny has been bittersweet – I wish I wasn’t so sick and it has made me feel trapped in my own body, in my apartment and in the passivity of waiting for my health to improve,  but it’s also been pretty perfect, because we’ve been spending so much time together talking – defining who we are as a couple, what we want to achieve with our connection and the direction in which we want to walk together. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been tough at times. We only have a couple of weeks to figure these things out, then he goes back to the States and it might be another year until we’ll get to build an everyday life together in the same place again. These weeks have been like a crash course in “us”

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Our honesty and directness are crucial – we can’t afford to be vague about who we are or what we want, we already have the language barrier, time differences and painful pasts we want to avoid revisiting. Our talks can be brutal at times because we challenge each other, in a positive way, to get to the realness of each other and cut through the layers of insecurities and imagined expectations that’s been forced on us by other people. It hurts to let go of fears by facing them. You’re bound to get your ass kicked by them before you’ll able to triumph and rise above. It hurts to get your comfort zone crushed. To let someone inside even though you are still healing a damaged, delicate heart. It’s confusing to let go of preconceived ideas of what you should be, do, say, or act – and instead just be and see what happens when you are showing your bare bones for the first time. Will you be able to move or will you fall apart?

But the brutal nature of honesty together with the smoothness of intimacy makes the relationship vibrate with life and energy – and there’s a clear sense of movement and progress and that gives me the biggest sensation of relief and satisfaction.

“You have to work hard for the things you want otherwise it’s not gonna be what you want but a compromise or something else and you’ll end up dissatisfied”, Johnny says. And it’s true. I’ve worked hard to achieve my dream of becoming an artist. Whenever I’ve had to compromise in my art I’ll end up losing my true artistic voice. I’ve worked hard to just be me without having to sacrifice or compromise who I am in order to fit into other people’s expectations of me which leads to depression or getting caught in traumatic places. So I understand the importance of the hard work. I just wish my mind wasn’t so full of little wounds, created by the traumas and the PTSD, it makes the hard work feel even more difficult and hard. My traumas are connected with love, intimacy and vulnerability. But that’s also where the magic happens in my art. That’s where I feel at home. Naturally it gets confusing at times. I need these deep talks with Johnny, otherwise I’d probably freak out and just give up when the trauma wounds are too sore or bleeding. But I’m lucky we share this open-hearted connection and that we both want to change and adapt to each other without losing our integrity. Change is hard work – building a home is hard work, but also so rewarding. I have been breaking free from my past for several years now, but now I’m actually breaking free from who I used to be in that past. I still don’t know exactly who I am when it comes to love and relationships – “great” Johnny says, “let’s find out together!”.

Underneath my skin

We are having long and deep discussions about creativity. It’s like injecting life into my veins. It feels so good. We talk about his writing, my art, my writing, our differences and shared processes. We are both in transitional phases. Changing. Evolving from something familiar and old to an unknown expression. I’m restless about it, he’s not. “You can’t rush it, you just have to absorb and digest new ideas and visions, while leaving the old behind. It takes time”. I can’t help thinking that it’s also exactly what I’m doing with my past.

I’ve been without skin for over three years now, since the last break up when I also broke up with my own past. It was a painful experience to step out of my familiar skin to become naked and fragile – both to myself and the world, in order to change and grow. The same goes for my painting. I’m changing skin or at least shedding a layer or two. I feel awfully sensitive and a little exposed.

I use to live in a skin that was colored by what other people expected from me. It was a skin of a mother to the men in my life, the skin of delivery machine, their whore, nurse, the good girl. It was the skin of the artist who produced artworks to sell instead of saying something important. My skin tore up easily because of the metal from the delivery machine and it was melting from all the pressure.

Manic Mandy

Manic Mandy by Mia Makila, 2013

To be without skin makes me feel so vulnerable. I can’t go back and dress myself in my old skin. It doesn’t fit anymore. I just have to heal and take care of the new, thin layers of skin – produced by life, time and the peace I feel inside. The more peaceful I feel, the stronger the new skin will become. Both on my body and in my paintings.

Sometimes I flinch when Johnny touches my new skin, not because it’s painful but because I feel so sensitive. But his touch is the best cure. His love helps it heal. Our home makes it grow stronger. My new sense of freedom lets it breathe. I’m slowly accepting myself and the new skin that’s emerging in the rawness of my metamorphosis.

So I am without skin, but what a lovely feeling it is to let the inside get a chance to take a deep breath before it’s covered by new layers. It has been a time of self exploration – to find out what has been hiding underneath something that was suffocating me for so long.

A master plan and how to destroy it

I never realized that the fear of my own past has created all these walls of protection. After nearly 20 years of being non stop in either destructive or dead relationships, I’ve become sensitive to so many things when it comes to relationships. It would be easier just to spend the rest of my life alone – without anyone by my side. It would be easier to isolate myself completely. I don’t fear loneliness – there’s nothing worse than the loneliness you feel in a dead relationship anyway. I always have my creativity. My art and writing will always be my company. I would live only by my own rules, my own expectations and fulfill my needs without making any sacrifices for anyone else. I would feel safe in my loneliness because there wouldn’t be anyone there to hurt me, to leave me or to destroy my sense of happiness. I would be lonely but free – and I could make art all the time. I would become a hermit genius who produces like 10 000 drawings a year. I would create an amazing legacy.

It is a tempting thought. Somehow like it’s a loophole – it would guarantee a pain free future. My life would be a trauma free zone. I would outsmart the unknown and create my own destiny – and the magic word would be ‘avoidance’.

But it’s only tempting for a minute.

I look over at Johnny while he’s not aware of my stare and for a second I’m a little annoyed. Who is this man who makes the avoidance seem like a bad idea – who challenges my idea of becoming a hermit genius artist and instead wants me to be in a relationship again even though I clearly suck at it? I could ask him to leave now, then I would pursuit my plan of loneliness and avoidance and it would be the last time I would be this close to a man ever again. I could ask him to stop loving me, because I am too damaged anyway. It must be hard to love me. I have my freak outs, my days of tears and sadness, moments of ugliness and darkness. What does he see in me anyway? Is he blind? Stupid? A masochist?

Suddenly he notices my stare and gives me a smile. Oh crap, don’t smile, don’t look so happy. It makes all these thoughts seem so delusional. I smile back. Great, now I’ve done it. Now it’s too late to ask him to leave. This happiness makes it feel impossible. I don’t like it. How can my magic word be ‘avoidance’ when I just want to explore everything in life with this man? What’s wrong with me?

He comes over to me, puts his arms around me and I suddenly forget about my plans of loneliness and solitude. He whispers in my ears: “I know you feel scared, I know you feel naked and vulnerable right now. I understand. But I don’t want to put you in another cage. You’ve known too many cages already. I want you to feel free. I want to make you happy. I never want to take from you, only add. This is the first time in your life where nobody is demanding something from you, more than to be yourself and it freaks you out. But I am here. I won’t leave. I am here.”

His words feel wonderful inside but they’re equally scary. Because the antidote to avoidance – is trust. And here it is – I either trust him or I can go on with my plan of avoiding everything he represents to me. Love. Pleasure. Happiness. Sharing. Or I can go for all those things and trust that everything will be alright. But all that comes without any guarantees. Without any walls of protection.

“Just be Mia”

My health is slowly improving and I’m beginning to enjoy my time with Johnny without feeling anxious about having to stay at home most of the time. I think in a couple of days, I will have recovered completely.

The good thing about being sick and forced to be at home has been the hours we have spent talking, caressing each other, getting to know each other in a more intimate way than we would’ve done if we had been busy doing things outside. I’ve learned a lot about myself these last few days. This is the very first relationship after all the bad ones – when I felt like I was playing the role of the ‘good girlfriend’ which was all about serving my boyfriends and sacrifice myself and my needs along the way. Now, I try to be myself and to be naked and real about what I want and need. It’s not always easy. I feel torn between being ‘the good girlfriend’ and myself sometimes – not because Johnny expects anything like that from me, but because that submissive behavior is so ingrained in my mind. I feel vulnerable in being myself without making sure that my lover is comfortable, satisfied or happy all the time.

But Johnny is constantly challenging me to kill the ‘good girlfriend’ act. He keeps exposing me when I try to serve him: “stop that – just be Mia”, he says. I feel safe with him – but very naked. Sometimes I don’t know what to do when I don’t need to serve a man’s needs. I feel a little lost but of course it’s liberating and gives me a sense of freedom. And whenever I fall back into my old behavior, he looks at me with a smile and says: “just be Mia”.

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But what is it – to just be Mia? I am not sure. I know how to be me when I am all by myself, but when I am in a relationship that doesn’t require anything more from me than to just be myself, I get a little lost. Because I’ve never really felt equal to anyone else, I don’t know my position in the relationship. That’s when I reach for Johnny’s hand – and it’s always there for me. We are slowly learning how to be ourselves with each other without losing anything, without making sacrifices in our needs and wants, without compromising away the essence of who we are.

Being sick has forced me to show my most naked sides. I have been too drained to be anything other than myself. It has been the perfect timing to figure out who I am when I am in a relationship. Like I am in the process of learning how to push through my old personas to let my own voice be heard for the first time, without being judged or humiliated. I am loved. For just being me. And every time I forget about it – Johnny is there to remind me to “just be Mia”.

I feel so lucky.

A clean house

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I woke up with a smile this morning – I could feel it in every part of my body. Like I was smiling with everything I am. I let the morning light illuminate the smile for a long time before I left my bed. I spent the whole day cleaning the apartment, for your arrival of course. I scrubbed the inside of the microwave exactly like I’ve scrubbed myself clean through therapy these last few years. Very thorough. You’ve been been by my side through a couple of short lifetimes already, even though we’ve only known each other for about four years. You were there when other men tried to steal me away from you. Some of them thought of you as a threat, but you never considered them to be a threat to you: “let them be jealous of me, let them talk badly about me, let them focus on me as a rival, and I’ll just go on focusing on you instead.” you said then. You are always calm and wise. It must be that native Mexican blood in you. One man even wrote a cruel poem about you to make me look at you differently, but he failed miserably.

“It’s not a dream when I say that I will kiss you one day…” you once said before we had ever met in real life, “…it’s not even a plan – it is a fact.”

And you were right. We met. Kissed. Fell in love.

Since then, we have been building a home together, from each side of the planet. That home is in both of us but has only one heart.

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While I was cleaning all the mirrors, I thought about all the things we have in common on the inside. Like our internal mirror. The sensitivity. The sensuality. How we filter reality through our curiosity, intellect and imagination. How we believe in magic and how we create it together. The way we are equally focused on the smallest little detail as we are when it comes to seeing the bigger picture and how those two things always are in a fascinating juxtaposition against each other. How often we make each other laugh. The deep wounds we are healing in each other. Our empathy. The gratitude. Our native language of intimacy and nakedness. And our nerdiness. That’s one of my favorite things we have in common. I love how we can spend hours analyzing fictional characters from movies and create background stories for our favorite characters in TV series. Especially when it comes to Hank Moody. Or Poussey. I loved our dissection of Hannah Horvath when you were here last year and we watched four seasons of Girls together.

Once I was done with all the cleaning, my apartment was no longer mine, but ours. A clean house where we can create more magic in each other. All that is missing now – is you.

While you’ll be traveling amongst the clouds, over the mountains, across the big ocean, later today, I will be here, waiting for you. I feel excited and happy – and a little restless. But if I was able to wait half a lifetime for you, I can manage to wait another day.