The women who came before me

My Finnish grandmother 

My Swedish grandmother 

During the monthly hormone disruption, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own femininity and my body. The menstruation cycle is just as private as it is a connection to the women in the line behind me. Genetics. A shared familiarity in symptoms, cycles, physicality. Like a secret society of womanhood. Then I started to think about my two grandmothers, who were so different from each other and colorful in their own unique ways.

My Finnish grandmother on my father’s side was kind of spiritual and very artistic and creative. The Finns are quite mysterious and they hold a lot of pride and integrity – and I see my grandmother as an enigma at times. I used to visit her after my grandfather died and we would listen to classical music together or she would translate her poems and read them to me. She had a lot of depth but I think she was starving for some intellectual stimulation. Even though she was a happy person, there was always a streak of darkness to her. It intrigued me. I was fascinated by the way she could walk through her childhood memories with such ease, talking about it with her whole body, and then tell gruesome stories about the war (the winter war against Russia) that would transport me there. She was a good story teller. Her life was hard at times and she sacrificed a lot of herself and her creativity to be able to be a good homemaker. But – there were times when she would create something beautiful for her family. Like the time when she created a forest in her living room for the kids to play in. She went out in the forest, collected moss, grass, branches, stumps, leaves, small tress, sticks and stones and arranged it on a huge rug in the corner of the room to make it look like a real forest.

My aunt, uncle and my dad in my grandmother’s living room forest

My grandparents

After a few weeks it all began to decay and smell, so she went back to the woods and gently returned the moss and the trees to its natural environment. It was a lovely project. It inspired me when I was decorating the living room in one of my earlier apartments as a ‘winter room’ where I went all in with a wintry style in June:





My Swedish grandmother was very different. She was almost childlike at times. Especially in the brutal way she used her honesty and was loud about it – and in her naive view of the world, but she had a lot of spunk to her – and a very dirty sense of humor. When I think about her I see a free spirit trapped in a time and place where society didn’t accept it, so she tried to fit in, trying to fit the norm but not in the most graceful way. She was forced to move out from home in her early teens. I think that abrupt end to her childhood and the need to do what it takes to survive in a harsh world colored her temperament and behavior. My grandmother was very warm and she really loved me. I think my Swedish grandparents were the only relatives, except for my parents, who showed me genuine love and affection when I was a child. I felt seen by her. Not understood, but at least I felt seen. Because she was like a child and I was an old soul.


Me with both my grandmothers, 1999

I think they are both part of me somehow. Here and there in the genes, but they have also influenced me in various ways. I inherited my talent and creativity from my Finnish grandmother and my sense of humor, my honesty and my childlike quality from my Swedish grandmother. They are both gone now but I still talk to them in my head once in a while. And I am sort of a close neighbor to my Finnish grandmother, because she’s buried in the cemetery across the street from my building. If I squint, I think I can see her grave from here.



I’m slowly starting to feel like myself again. I still feel a little numb and distant but not as encapsulated in the heavy fog. All my creative processes were completely disrupted by this – and I’ve lost some momentum and mojo, but I’ll do what it takes to get it back.

I’m very grateful for the internship at the gallery, I am having so much fun! The gallery has been my sanctuary during this heavy week. Not only because the work itself is stimulating but also because it’s a boost to my self-esteem and confidence. When I get affected by the hormone storm, I lose some of it. I feel weak, fatigue, vulnerable and a little lost. But through the work, I’m reminded of my strength, capability, my intellect and my talent. Whatever feels impossible is only a momentary malfunction in the brain system – I know I am capable of anything I set my mind to – and instead of dwelling on feeling like things are impossible I have to remind myself that I’mpossible. That’s a good word, a little cheesy perhaps, but still a good mantra.

And even when life is hard – I don’t lose my good qualities. They are still there, hiding under the fog of self doubt and twisted hormones.

Now I have some orientation to do. I need to get back to where I left off before the disruption. Back to the new painting. The digital piece about house roots. Back to writing on this blog again. I’ve missed it all. I’ve missed you as well.


Made with Square InstaPic

My day has been all about rain and words. In the afternoon I suddenly felt anxious, so I redecorated my bedroom in hopes of a change of style – and mood. My PMS is here again. Perhaps that’s why I cried after I finished the 5th season of Girls. Or perhaps I cried because I think Lena Dunham is so damn talented. Her writing inspires me a lot. I think the 5th season was the best one yet. Can’t wait for the 6th and last season.

I’ve been resting in bed, reading, all night. I’m also studying the writing while reading it. The style. Rhythm. Flow. Effect. I’ve always been self taught in every creative area, this is the way I learn how to express myself; I study, ponder, turn the information into my own version of the techniques and styles – and ponder some more until I let it out in my creative process. Watching movies, reading books, studying art is how I shape my own artistic voice. They are my teachers. I learn fast, I observe well and I transform it to my own thing in a way that feels natural and intuitive. I will sleep soon, so that I can leave my anxious demons to rest. Bad hormones is like poison to an artist mind.

The grey fog of PMDD


 It is the second day of slipping in and out of various dark holes. The monthly attack of the obscure hormones of PMDD happened again last night. It’s a terrifying reality inside reality for some women, like myself. But few women talk about it and practically nobody knows it even exists. It’s like PMS but with the emotional rollercoaster ride of the bipolar disorder and the sadness of pure grief. Even if it only lasts a few days every month, when it goes away you are left with the consequences of alienation and days of unproductiveness. And the feelings of shame and confusion.


It hits you during the time of ovulation. One minute you are fine – and the next you are falling down a deep and dark rabbit hole to a wonderland of hopelessness, covered in a thick, suffocating fog. Suddenly you are not able to relate to your world of familiar things, the people you love and your own positive feelings. The things you hold dear loses its colors and suddenly you can’t remember why you ever liked them. You can’t distinguish love from fear. Love is a faraway land and you’ve lost the map to get there. The food taste like dirt. You crave silence but if it’s broken, you feel hostile and confused. Every sound is threatening. A stab wound in your mind. Of course it’s a perfect disposition for arguments and conflicts. It’s like that horror movie cliché where a woman is caught in a cobweb and she’s trying to get out but only making herself more entangled in the sticky net. And the fog is closing in, surrounding you, locking you inside it while you’re fighting to get disentangled from the spider’s web.


Finally, you are so deep into the fog, so caught in the web that the only thing you you are able hear is your own breaths. You are there, in the world, and the hormones are spreading like a poison in your veins but nobody can see this isolation, the entrapment or the fog. Only you. Panic. And desperation. A conflict of consciousness. Two realities meshing, colliding, feeding off each other, destroying one another – melting and tearing at each other. Like two overlapping films, burning and melting into one distorted collection of sequences.


After a few days, the fog lightens and then it’s suddenly gone. You are disentangled from the web. The air is clear and you can breathe without inhaling fear. You can speak without chocking on the words as if they are swollen and doesn’t fit your throat. Your mind is open. Until next month of course, when the whole nightmare will repeat itself again.

The dark corner of womanhood is natural but feels so otherworldly. We shouldn’t have to feel shame on top of the struggle some of us are facing every month. It’s hard to reach us when we are lost in the fog, but it’s even harder for us to reach out and feel the lightness of reality.


The monthly invasion of excruciatingly intense hormones and anxiety has once again interrupted my process of self therapy. I feel all messed up – over emotional and numb at the same time. But in this break I am able to reflect on what I’m going through and to acknowledge the hard work I’m doing, which I’m usually taking for granted.

Spring is somehow leaking through the chilly winds outside my window. It’s still cold out but I can feel a change coming on. I feel just as restless as spring to unfold and blossom with everything I am.


I am thinking about how I found love while looking for it in other places. I’m still so used to destructive relationships that I am having a hard time trusting all the wonderfulness of this love story. I’m learning how to accept love and to trust another person. It is almost as difficult as the process of my self-empowerment. Or perhaps it’s part of it. I feel extremely emotional as soon as I am thinking about him. We are quite different but we share many qualities, especially how we always filter life through our thoughts and hearts and allow details to be as significant as the whole. There is a sense of sensuality in that. We both experienced an interruption of innocence somewhere early in life, and we are slowly repairing it together in each other and in ourselves. We are like a scaffolding to each other’s heart, creating a support system so we can heal and grow. Like the crutches holding the characters together in Dali’s paintings.


It is a beautiful love. Not harsh or indifferent like the ones in my past. It’s like we are growing up together, although we are already adults. I wonder what that will do to the passive Lolitas in my art.

Today, I will simply let the anxious hormones pass through me as if am a train station. All the emotions are warped and colored with high sensitivity and conflicting meanings. Tomorrow I hope I’ll wake up to be more in control of my inner activities.