The year of joy and peace

Recent photos from my phone:

I’ve had a wonderful weekend even though my health has been shaky. I’m getting more and more into the flow of creativity and positive thinking. It’s more natural for me now to think in terms of “what you think – you’ll become” instead of being sucked down into my fear, sadness or negative energy pits.

The important thing is to keep busy, to be balanced in rest/play and body/mind and working on my self-esteem. And I’ve been both busy and ambitious lately with making new artworks, creating a new website for my art, writing a plan for next year’s achievements and goals – and making research about neuro linguistic programming. I feel proud of myself.

And I know that before this year is over, I’ll finish at least 3 more artworks, my new art site will be launched (as a Christmas gift for my precious audience) and I’ll have a clear vision of what I need to do to be able to reach my goals for 2017:

  1. reduce stress /get healthy
  2. find balance between mind/body and rest/play
  3. continue my process of independence
  4. stop feeding the want and start nurturing the need
  5. celebrate life
  6. be creative and have fun with it
  7. get more money so I can invest in new projects
  8. plan art shows for 2018-2019

I know that next year will be amazing – even if the world is all messed up right now and Trump will become the new sitting President of the United States – but there is no one of nothing that can take away the optimism and newfound self-esteem that I’ve worked so hard for this year.  That makes me feel powerful and it’s a great feeling after feeling vulnerable for a long time. What a victory. What a fucking victory.

The nature of bad self-esteem

Someone recently asked me; “you already have all the keys to unlock your own success and happiness – what are you waiting for?” and I guess they were right, I do have all the keys to unlock my own success and happiness; I have the awareness, the will, the motivation, the knowledge and the focus. So what am I waiting for?

The answer is in my bad self-esteem and the way I keep doubting myself. I can’t use the keys unless I REALLY start believing in myself. The more I dig into the self-doubt and dissect it, the more ridiculous I think it is. I am talented – so why don’t I believe in my talent? I am smart – why don’t I believe in my own intellect? I am strong – why don’t I believe in that strength? I am beautiful – why can’t I appriciate that? It’s so stupid. Like it’s all there but I can’t reach it or I don’t want to – or like being able to see but thinking you are blind. Bad self-esteem doesn’t make sense unless you put it in a social context. I think people are OK with who they are and accept themselves when they are alone – but in relation to other people, they start to feel uncomfortable, inadequate, flawed and weird, especially if they’ve had bad experience with bullying, abuse, neglect or not being able to connect with other people. They start to doubt themselves. They focus on scarcity and all the things they’re lacking. They start to compare themselves to other people (a “never-win” game) and they start feeling bad about themselves. Then comes the avoidance, the isolation and the self-destructive behavior.

I know where my bad self-esteem stems from – but it’s easier to get bad self-esteem than eliminating it. It only takes one word, one action, one trauma to lose your self-esteem. But it takes a lot of hard work to get it back.

I’ve been brainwashed by some people to think I’m worthless, pathetic, incapable, stupid, weak and submissive (and by media to think I’m fat and ugly), so I guess I just have to brainwash myself back to normal. Because I’m none of those things. I have to increase the volume of the good frequency thoughts about myself and lower the volume on the bad frequency thoughts. In with the positive, out with the bad.

“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”.

IMG_20160820_024744

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.

Unapologetic

I’m still sick but the toothache is finally gone. The apartment is filled with silence and a murky light that looks like an extra blanket on my bed. I’m covered in softness, even on the inside. I’m thinking about the love I have in my life. The friendships and the acceptance they provide. It means so much to me. To be accepted and seen for who I am, appreciated for who I am. It’s not always been part of my life or even part of my expectations of other people. That they would actually accept me and love everything about me, even the things I consider flaws and imperfections. They even tell me they love me because of those things. I feel very grateful. The qualities in me which I was bullied for in school, abused for by people close to me or by men who wanted to belittle me, are now something other people love and embrace. I think what other people have hated about me is my vitality, my shameless love for living my life true to who I am and the way I don’t apologize for who I am. But they tried to change that. Some of them failed and I got stronger because of their resistance. But other people succeeded in shaming me for those things – and I started to apologize for who I am and for everything I stand for. “I’m sorry, I know I’m difficult.” Or; “You are right about your judgements about me, I am a selfish and egocentric because I love who I am and want to live my life as true to my inner nature as possible, I am a freak because I used to be shameless about who I am, I am weak because I want to be seen and heard and you are strong because you want to blend in with the crowd and you don’t need attention as I do. I am sorry that I am coming on too strong, that I take up too much room, too much time. I am sorry that I am “too much to handle” – I am sorry my existence is making you feel uncomfortable.”

IMG_1177

I apologized and they loved it. They washed off my true colors until my body was almost invisible, they gagged my mind until there were no words coming out of my colorless body. They felt good about themselves. They had tamed the beast and finally got some peace of mind. The problem was solved. I was invisible and quiet and they felt stronger, better and most importantly – they felt comfortable around me. I was no longer a threat to their intellect, dreams, self images or ego.

I don’t know how much of this that had to do with my personality, my behavior of confidence and self love, or the fact that I came off as a strong woman. An unapologetic strong woman. I think that’s the worst social crime you can commit as a woman, to feel confident enough to not apologize for your confidence. That just have to be punished. Destroyed. Eliminated.

When I was a little girl I was totally unapologetic about who I was. Even when some girls bullied me in school. Even when a boy hit me in the face during a math class. Even when the art teachers in high school tried to make me feel bad about having an artistic voice at such a young age. But then, something happened and I lost the ability to fight off abuse and hate. I became highly apologetic. I apologized to my boyfriends for having a worthless pussy since it caused me pain during penetration, it just had to be such a turn off for them ( I never once considered that my pussy hurt because they failed to turn me on and having sex with a dry pussy destroys the nerves and it becomes painful to even think about penetration). I apologized to my parents for wanting to be a starving artist and causing them so much worry for my economic future. I apologized to my abusers because I knew it was all my fault that they had a problem with me, I was the problem, I had to be the problem otherwise they wouldn’t be that angry, right? I apologized to the gallery owners because I hadn’t produced enough artworks.

The only one I never apologized to – was myself.

Until last year when I made a ritual with myself where I forgave myself for every mistake and failure which had caused me pain in my life. It was so liberating.

The most important apology to myself was about how I had kept apologizing to other people, for who I am and for everything I stand for. That is a self betrayal. And the aftermath of apologizing for who I am, was to stop being me, and becoming passive and submissive to other people’s vision of who I was supposed to be – to them. And that is self abandonment.

I have stopped apologizing for who I am. I have surrounded myself with people who celebrate who I am. I’ve grown allergic to situations and people who try to tame my nature or my love to live life the way it is supposed to be lived. If there’s a cage, I’ll burn it. If there are chains, I’ll break them. And the shame other people try to put on me, I’ll return to where it belongs.

If I make someone uncomfortable by just being myself, then that someone has big problems of their own. You can’t tame every lioness in the jungle just because you feel threatened by them.

The season of pain

Screenshot_20160803-111354~2

It’s been one of the worst summers of my life. I’ve been dealing with so many different kinds of pains. First the pain of what’s going on in the world – there is so much pain and fear right now with terrorism, increasing of rape cases, especially in groups of men, demagogues and dangerous political drama. But I’ve also endured physical pain. Emotional pain, stirred up by my self therapy (but necessary in order for me to continue my inner journey). But then there’s the pain of knowing that my second trauma is in a way still on going. I don’t talk about this in public because it can hurt people close to me, but even if I don’t talk about it, it’s still there. I’ve learned how to live with it and the pain is mostly about not understanding why. I’ve let got of both shame and guilt, they don’t belong to me. They never did. But it’s this little word “why” that keeps haunting me. To not being able to understand something difficult is not easy to accept. The heart needs closure. And to give up looking for an answer is definitely the best way to heal. That is extremely hard to do. It’s so hard to accept that there aren’t any answers and looking for them is pointless. Trying to figure out why someone hates you, why you are not good enough for them, why they think you deserve to suffer like that, why you are stuck with all the pain while they can live their lives without being bothered by what they’ve done or the consequences of their actions and the lack of responsibility.

Screenshot_20160803-102126~2

But when I think about it, I don’t think they are happy and living their lives without any pain. I think people who hate other people hate themselves even more. I think these people know more pain than their victims, but in order to survive they project their pain and suffering onto other people. If they wouldn’t hate other people, who would they be? If they didn’t feel superior to other people – how would they feel about themselves?

The most toxic relationships are often between an empath who’s trying to rescue a wounded soul but being the object of projected self hatred and pain. The empath becomes a victim of a dangerous dance of wanting to rescue the wounded soul but end up with a wounded soul because of the dance itself. You can’t rescue other people if you are trying to rescue yourself through them – and you can’t hide from your own pain by inflicting pain in others. It’s that  simple.

Because once they stop hating you, they are faced with their shame, guilt, self loathing – and their unbearable pain. But there is a way out of it, and it’s by facing it. By wanting the dance to end. By surrendering to the reality of things instead of hiding. Instead of escaping into numbing and separating the mind from the soul. Daring to be vulnerable is the key. Daring to be naked in front of oneself – without judging, without feeling shame.

So I wouldn’t trade my pain for theirs. I wouldn’t even trade it for their lack of pain for hurting me. But I do want closure. Whatever it looks like. Accepting that they won’t ever be vulnerable enough to be held accountable for their actions. Accepting that they aren’t strong enough to do that, and I can’t do anything about it. Accepting the feeling of helplessness and powerlessness when it comes to resolving the situation. Accepting the waste of years being part of the toxic dance and allowing them to treat me like a door mat. Accepting that I deserve happiness, success, love, pleasure and freedom, in spite what they think I deserve (which is basically nothing). Accepting that I can’t change another person or make them see what they’ve done or who they are. Accepting that the pain they have caused has helped me become who I am today and feeling grateful for being strong enough to make something good out of it instead of becoming a slave to it. I will never be a slave to my own pain. I want to cut it off and let it go. Maybe one day I’ll be ready to do that or perhaps it’s a slow process and I’m already working on it, what do I know.

Feeling hated is difficult and painful but I imagine it’s nothing compared to what it must be like hating oneself. I am finally in a place in my life where I accept myself for who I really am – and I am able to love myself without feeling shame. It’s a big victory for me – and from here I’ll be able to deal with whatever life throws at me, because I know when something is happening because of me or because of other people’s weaknesses and shortcomings. I used to take on the responsibility for everything, even for things that had nothing to do with me. If someone would hit me, I would think it happened because I was being difficult, that I probably deserved it and that it was my fault, not theirs.

Now I know exactly what belongs to me and what doesn’t. And it makes it easier to live with the pain of being hated and punished for who I am. It’s not my fault. It’s not my responsibility. It’s not my problem. It’s not my choice. It’s not my place to ask why.

Even if this has been a crappy summer, I will make the following months the best autumn of my life. The season of pain is over.

It doesn’t make sense anymore

A little self portrait I made in therapy 2014 about my self-image

If you are like me and you’re always moving forward, life is a series of processes and when you’ve gone through a rough time or a difficult process, another one begins. Time moves like a river, and you just follow its flow and speed with an open conscious and heart. I’ve gone through so many process since the traumas. Survival processes, telling my story out loud for the first time to myself and to therapists, making sense of trauma symptoms, mapping the triggers,  overcoming destructive thoughts, feelings, behavior by practicing new ways and attitudes, acceptance and understanding, self-forgiveness, healing, letting go, starting over and building a new life, from scratch. I’ve done a lot of hard work over a long period of time (15 years). I’ve definitely overcome my traumas, I’m out in the light after spending years in darkness – however there’s a lot to work to be done in the light as well.

I’m at the point in my life where things from my past suddenly don’t make any sense anymore. Before I had some kind of twisted logic to my own behavior, excuses to explain other people’s abuse and idiocy, a distorted self-image (which seemed very realistic to me at the time) and a false sense of control (avoidance, isolation, defensiveness, compartmentalization etc). Now, it all seem weird to me. And I feel strange when I’m encountered with the old stuff. The way I see myself and my whole self image is very different now from just a few years ago. I have stopped trying to make sense of abusive behavior or trying to excuse people’s bad behavior towards me. I don’t allow them to treat me that way because I can’t find any reason for it. I am taking care of myself for the first time ever and I mean ALL of me – body, mind, heart and soul.

At times I’m faced with elements from my past and then it’s like a clash of realities and I end up feeling torn between them. It’s an awful feeling. But once I am taking control over the situation instead if letting it control me – I can move forward without falling back into old behavioral patterns. So I have to keep being in control of my own life, this is the only path to happiness and success. There are no shortcuts and nobody else has the right to that position in my life – I am the director of my life and only I can decide what is best for me. But it’s a very different approach to life if you compare it to what my life has been like where I’ve always expected other people to either save me or lead the way. I’ve grown allergic to that now. I don’t need to be saved anymore – and I ended up saving myself. I hate when people try to control me or tell me what to do. This is a sign of improving independence. I’m happy that things like that doesn’t make sense to me anymore. It really means something. Something very important.

The process of happiness

beautiful-sun-reflecting-in-water-rock-bottom-river-brook-animated-gif

It’s been difficult for me to write anything lately because I’m going through so many different and wonderful processes at the same time. Processes are abstract and hard to define since they are in constant motion, sort of in the same way the sun is dancing across the waves of the ocean. It’s easier to describe a process after going through them. The abstractions are less abstract then and replaced by substance and meaning – and a new sense of clarity. Every day I’m experiencing self-empowerment and letting go of negativity and fear in both little things and in bigger ones. I’m focused on pleasure, happiness and strength – and it takes a lot of trial and error to change my thinking style and the way I’m accepting it.

I try not to fall back in old behavioral patterns, but it’s hard sometimes. I’m still struggling with the thoughts that I don’t deserve to be happy and loved. The manipulation is rooted deeply into my system.

hty

Why wouldn’t I deserve to be happy and loved? Because it makes someone else feel bad about themselves? Because I am not good enough? Because I am in debt to the world? No theory makes sense, they’re all stupid. If I don’t deserve to be happy – who does? Someone who’s more ‘perfect’? Someone who doesn’t demand anything of other people? Someone who’s less fortune than myself? All this is also so silly.

I understand that I can’t just change my approach to happiness over night. It’s a process, like I described. I just have to accept that today I felt happy and loved and no one could ever take that away because I don’t allow people to punish me or shame me anymore. Happiness is a choice – an attitude of the mind. If I want to feel happy I will find a way to feel happy. And then I’ll actually be happy. That’s the best part of process of happiness.

Turning shame into pride

IMG_20160323_213943~2

This week has been really intense. I’m in this new place where everything is finally starting to come together. My life has been really fragmented for so long, but now it’s like all the pieces are finding their way back to create a more solid shape. There are still some cracks and gaps to fill, but it’s just a matter of time until I find whatever is missing.

I am really happy I made so much research about shame, vulnerability and fear of failure/success, because they were all tangled up together inside me – one thing fed the other in a very destructive way. I feel so liberated. Where I used to feel shame, I now feel a sense of pride. I had lost the joy of looking at my own art – it made me embarrassed and uncomfortable. But now I feel very connected to my artworks and I feel happy looking at them. During the years of blockages and artistic drought, the characters in my art turned into my enemies. They were never as perfect as I wanted them to be. Not expressive enough. Not as alive as I wished they could be. My art made me frustrated. It pissed me off. Made me depressed. I don’t see it like that anymore. I feel really proud of what my mind, eyes, hands and soul can create together. I try to not judge it and to let it be whatever it is without wanting it to be more than it is; more perfect, more expressive, cooler, more playful, creative or more intellectual. It is what it is and I created it, it is part of me. It is something to be proud about. It is the part of me that makes me really special. I will try to remember that more.

The new painting (still without a title) is sitting on the easel in my studio right now and I am in love with it. I can’t wait to work on it tomorrow again. I’ve missed this feeling of love and intoxication in the first stages of making a painting (before you feel done with it and start thinking about the next project).

Learning how to say “Fuck it!”

tumblr_nyhksh42qw1tta8m3o2_500
I’m slowly making progress in my process of self-empowerment.
I’ve made so much research about fear of failure – and fear of success that I now feel confident in my awareness about these mattes (both my weaknesses and my resources and strength) and I feel ready to embrace failure and welcome the benefits of making mistakes in order to become wiser and better at things.

“People who succeed have the courage to fail.”

– Richard Sudek

But the most important and valuable thing I’ve learned about fear of failure – and success, is to say “fuck it!” when it comes to what other people think or say about me and what I do. To not apologize for who I am or for the decisions I make in order to reach success. To not censor myself in order to make other people feel more comfortable or superior And to not feel responsible for other people’s opinions and judgment. Just “fuck it!” – I am who I am and I feel damn proud of myself! I’ve accomplished many amazing things already and I will achieve so many victories and successes in my future. The shame and humiliation of a possible failure – or the fear of being punished for being successful is slowly fading.

Fuck it!

Building an invisible house

self_empowerment

I made this image to illustrate my process of self-empowerment

I’m taking big steps in my self therapy – which I will refer to as ‘self-empowerment’ from now on. I am on a different journey now than during the years I lived with the PTSD where the cruel symptoms ruled my every day life.

During my abusive marriage, 2003

I might not be the smartest person in the world, I might not know much about anything really – but I am an expert when it comes to the process of losing the connection to oneself – and finding a way back. It’s been taking me about 15 years to accomplish that.

My old journey was to overcome PTSD and my new journey is all about reclaiming life and the power I lost to other people by accepting (and encouraging) a submissive position.

IMG_0361

2009

It all comes down to vulnerability. For a long period of time, I was trapped in various situations where it was forced on me from many directions. Vulnerability became the texture of my identity – and so also the visual expression of myself. I couldn’t see it. I was busy reliving trauma every day because of the PTSD (that I didn’t knew I suffered from at the time). But the vulnerability was the only thing I could offer men in relationships, I confused it for warmth and love – and so I attracted the narcissists, the aggressive ones, the assholes, the ‘strong silent’ men without any empathy – and the broken souls in denial with a tough exterior to overcompensate for their own vulnerability issues.

hip9

2010

I payed the price for their repressed pain or for their lack of emotions – and I let them. I gave them my vulnerability as a currency so they could buy my loyalty, love and sexuality with it, over and over, without losing any of their own currency. I cared so much, they didn’t care at all. I risked my life for them, they neglected me and took no risks at all. I thought that love would either ‘make me or break me’ – they thought of me as a submissive addition to their lives which had no real influence on their hearts. Indifference is a perfect armor, it allows no emotional risks at all. I can’t relate to it  – it’s a blind spot for me. I was an easy target for their selfish conquests when it came to what my vulnerability was worth – and  how it was perceived. They were addicted to it – and it made me look weak so they could look stronger, better and smarter.

Therefore, the first step to self-empowerment is self-forgiveness. I have forgiven myself for being so careless with my vulnerability and for letting men do whatever they want with it.

And with self-acceptance – where I am accepting both my weaknesses – and seeing my vulnerability as something precious that I have to protect and maintain (which, ironically, makes it shrink) and my strengths and resources (where vulnerability is a great one if handled with care) – I have a good foundation for what I need to achieve success, happiness and self-fulfillment.

11535874_10152959065052654_2783727054431881118_n

2015

It’s not a random coincidence that my recent artworks all have houses in them – and that I registered my new website as “The House of Mia Makila”. I am slowly building an invisible house around myself – a protection of inner strength and an uncompromising integrity – an empowerment of everything I am – to myself and to the world.

Iceland (digital)

Iceland (digital)