20 September 2010


Ah hello, it has been a while. (Warning, this will be long and personal, and possibly rant-like)

I have so many things to say, and then again, nothing really. I could talk about how an old friend of mine became a father this weekend and how I have felt strangely emotional about it. I have been mindlessly happy for him... He used to sometimes walk me home, with his bike, and we'd talk about the girls he was in love with (mostly that one girl), and I'd talk about anything, but never the boy I was in love with (that one boy, him). He made those first years in Finland, as an insecure teenager, much more bearable and I feel indebted to him, somehow, for being a friend when I felt very lonely. And now, he is a father! It's miraculous, to see the boys around us grow up.

I could talk about how another dear old friend got married, to somebody I don't even know... is she happy?, I wonder, because we haven't really talked in ten years... because I've moved away... I suppose, and left her there alone, and never thought to check back on how she was doing, although, in heart, I always was with her.

I could talk about how yet another friend, fellow first-time mother, fellow foreigner (although she has long since moved back to her home country) got a divorce last week. How it's made me sad, for them, for couples everywhere that used to be happy. I don't know any details because I haven't been in touch and it feels hypocritical to ask now.

I could talk about how I have been feeling a little tired lately, and a little blue, too. Everybody offers their help when you have a newborn, but you don't need it, because they sleep all the time and you are full of love and wonder. And then, by five months, when everybody expects you to have adjusted to your new situation with a baby, you start feeling like you stop handling it all that well.

I could talk about how I have been feeling like shutting the door to my soul for a little while. Curling up in my snug home, shutting the blinds to the outside world. You know, that feeling. I could talk about all of this, and yet I don't (really) because I feel a sense of shame over my emotional ups and downs.

Why is it that women are expected to be rational and reasonable (or are they?). I've never been good at being a steady stream of emotions, mine are more like little whirlwinds, and they hit at unannounced times. [I was once in class, the professor saying something about the Gulf War, and whatever it was he said, about military strategy, he said it with such cool rationality that it made me sick to my stomach and I yelled something like this, loud and clear, for everybody in the auditorium to hear: How dare you talk about war like that? People die! People die every day! Afterward a friend patted me on the shoulder and said: Aww, poor you, is it that time of month again? And I nodded and said, yes, yes, it is, finding myself highly embarrassed about my emotional outburst among a class full of serious students of political science. Only that, it wasn't that time of month. I simply felt like crying that day, that minute, for all those people that died that day.]

So, my question is, is it bad? To be emotional? To cry when we feel like it, and laugh when we feel like it? I have never had a depression (I think), but I have noticed that people who do are ashamed of it, and they treat it as an enemy, something foreign to them. And once they come out of it, they say, hey look, it's me, I'm back again! But isn't the blue feeling, the sadness, the grief, also part of who we are? And why do we need to hide that part?

You see, I think it's beautiful to be sad sometimes. To be emotional. To be warm. To be woman. There is beauty in gray. We took a walk by the waterfront on Sörnäisten rantatie yesterday and saw the most stunning double rainbow against a backdrop of the grayest sky. Semicircular arcs, with two golden ends. I think seeing that may be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and the beauty of its sight made me cry...

So, you see. A lot of everythings and nothings. I don't know why I am telling you all this. Oh wait, I do. I felt like it.

(And I will very likely feel embarrassed about this post tomorrow... but oh well).

Es tut mir leid, ihr Lieben, ich hab jetzt keine Zeit das Gelabere hier zu uebersetzen. Alles ist in Ordnung, bei uns geht's zur Zeit ein bisschen drunter und drueber, ich bin auf einer Achterbahn der Gefuehle und mache hier den Punkt, dass man, als Mensch, als Frau, manchmal emotionsgeladen sein darf (oder etwa nicht!). Es gibt Schoenheit, auch in Traurigkeit. Grau ist manchmal ganz schoen toll.


Minna said...

I like to be emotional, it´s a big part of me and I accept that now. I use to try to be really cool but not any more.

Etefel said...

I hear you sister! I feel exactly the same with Riki. He starts to be interested in everything, needs to be entertained and soon is moving. It is tiresome.

Also being emotional is who I am. I love it! I can't say I love grays, but I've learned to like those moments too. And I'm learning to understand rational people..like my hubby :)

emilyaaa said...

you know. the last few times i've read your blog i've thought "my word, that girl is ALWAYS happy! How does she DO it?" So, i'll be honest, it was nice to see that you, too, have your down moments. well, not 'nice' but, you know :)

Everyone has bad days/weeks/months (well, i'd thought of YOU as the exception...but now know better :)) and you're right, we'd do better not to conceal them!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

mäemamma said...

What a warm and autumn-coloured post!
Trees shed their leaves, and you some of the layers that cover our heart and soul to protect us from the outside world. But then again, what an amazing feeling to experience the raw emotions, to get physically moved by sensations. How could it be bad? I don't deny there are times when cool heads and calcualted reasoning has to dominate, but LIFE as a whole with its most important yet basic emotions (love, sadness, hope) I don't think cool heads and reason do the job there - they shouldn't really, because then it wouldn't be real love, real sadness, real hope anymore.
Be gald you know how to cry and are capable of bursting out your emotions sometimes. We're living, after all. And how I love people who can cry when seeing a rainbow or shriek with laughter when life show the smiley face.
Take care, Isa, and till the next post

Vi said...

I could write you one little, small, long answer to all this, but all I say is: yes, grey is beautiful and you are one of those lucky ones who can put this beauty into words. Keep it going :)

Anonymous said...

That was beatiful and surprise, surpise...emotional post. Thanks for sharing it.

In my case it was backwards: The first month with a baby was overwhelming. There I was: alone with a new born baby in a foreign country without knowing the main language or without having a clue how to take good care of my tiny fella -and nobody asked how I was doing. During the pregnancy I was in the center of attention and I even had direct contact to my obstetrician 24/7. Suddenly, when the baby was out, I was nobody again. One day I bursted into tears when I realised that I don't even have the direct contact to my doctor anymore to check me or listen my worries. Now everybody just cared the baby and I was supposed to be the happy, happy mother who knows what she is doing ;)

I'm happy those gloomy days are over. My way of surviving was to listen my insticts, try to do what felt right for us (me and the baby). And then I found how great it actually was that I was
outsider abroad: nobody critised, nobody questioned, nobody cared. I didn't feel any pressure from the society, environment nor other people. That was...revealing. I was able to become a mother with my own terms, conditions and principles -to be me.

Thanks again for sharing your personal thoughts. It's one reason why this blog is so good: it's complex and profound like the life is.

Jude said...

I loved reading this, Isa! I get emotional all the time, sometimes over the smallest thing it seems (even TV commercials can make me teary, for goodness sake!) Even if it's not for myself, I do sometimes feel a deep feeling in my gut for what friends' or others go through (e.g., I also have a friend recently divorced and I think of her a lot...and I get so sick thinking of the useless wars raging right now). I like my blog as a creative outlet to help get through these moments, and to also remember the beauty out there (on a different note, I love these lovely, calming greys).

lilla a said...

Thank you. For putting words to my sad moments. You will always be the best Mom to Your children, even if everything falls apart.

Franziska Patterson said...

So, I had written up this long comment, and it didn't post. :( Anyway, it was interesting to me that you posted this today. I had a very emotional/sad weekend and just had to ponder on very similar things today. Henry thinks I'm depressed when I get like this, but I don't think I'm depressed. To me depression always indicates that what you feel isn't real. But that's not how I feel. I think my worries, and sadnesses and regrets I felt over the weekend were real, legitimate and mine. I wish that women were allowed more to simply shut down at times. To feel. Without guilt. Because I fully agree with you that there is beauty in that, and not only that, I think it's necessary. Feeling the full range of emotions available to us, allows us to experience life so much more richly and deeply. Joy cannot exist without sorrow and sadness - and if we constantly fight those emotions...Also, I think there is a sense of feeling more alive when you allow yourself to feel, to weep, to mourn - whatever. It exposes the bonds we've created to other people, to humanity, to all things existing.

Today, as I was still pondering and wondering about my own blue feelings, I was glad to read that I'm not the only one feeling this way!

Hugs from Ohio! Revel in the moment, and allow yourself to feel whatever you want!

Emil und die großen Schwestern said...

Schön dass du die das Gefühl hattest über deine Emotionen zu sprechen und es mit uns zu teilen. Ehrlichkeit macht die besondere Menschen aus. Liebe Grüße, Éva

Nina said...

Ich finde zwar dass du Recht hast, aber ich werde auch das Gefühl nicht los, dass die gesamte Menschheit genau anders herum denkt. Wer schwäche zeigt ist verlätzlich - ist schwach - macht sich zum Opfer für vermenidlich starke Menschen. Mitgefühl ist unbekannt - ignoraz siegt. Empathie ist das große Wort dass ich bewunder. Das Wort nach dem ich gerne leben würde. Aber das geht nur bedingt. Hin und wieder trifft man im Leben auf so harte Brocken, dass man - würde man seinen Gefühlen folgen - daran zerbrechen könnte. Also was bleibt? Emotionen abschalten - versuchen Wut vor Trauer zu schieben, weil sie manches erträglicher macht. Sich auf sein eigenes Leben konzentrieren und alles andere an einem abprallen lassen. Ist nicht immer einfach, aber manchmal reiner Selbstschutz. Das ist der Teil unseres Lebens, der mich traurig stimmt. Aber darüber denke ich jetzt nicht nach, weil ich erkannt habe, dass traurig sein mich nicht glücklich macht.

Ich finde es aber schön, dass hier so viele für Emotionen sprechen, auch wenn mein Naturell mich das nicht so ganz glauben lässt.

Anonymous said...

This was interesting. (didn't know you had a crush to S.)
I think that almost every women are emotional. That's part of the plan.
I actually don't know how to hide my emotions. Sometimes I hope I could. (cause I can't held my anger either)
What comes to me I hate that endless grey. When I woke up, can barely get up and the day it feels it'll last forever and there's nothing to wait for, except the evening. Feeling bad and insignificant. I'm not sad I'm just feeling really bad. I'll try to do all the right things, try to think it will pass. And at the same time I'm just so tired. It feels like I could sleep days, weeks even a year. And then how you can do that when you have 3 children...
(And when it gets even worse I'll cry and then I'll write it down. And usually I feel better.)
I think there's nothing beautiful in it. but then, all these beautiful little (and big) things, first sight of the sun or the rainbow are absolutely breathtaking after the grey . And that's the reason (to me at least) why I know I'll need my gray moments.

And btw I'm right there for you sister. I know what you're talking about.
I haven't been this tired since the pregnancy. I'm Sending you strenght and nice autumn days, warm hugs and much love!

(P.S. the address please!)

Khali said...

Isa, what a beautiful post.

I don't think there is anything wrong with being emotional. I believe people who feel emotions deeply are the only ones who truly live.

I hope you don't feel embarrassed about what you wrote, it struck a chord with me and I'm sure it will in many others too.

Anonymous said...

Being somewhat of a "natural melancholic" (if there is such a thing) I tend not to think of feeling in terms of "ups" and "downs". As we all know, in every happiness lies the sadness, and in every sadness, there is also happpiness. (Clinical depression is something different, of course). Believe we would all feel better about ourselves and our emotional lives, if we learned to let things be... the way they are, at the moment. (The first book I mentioned in my last post, deals a lot with this.)

Thank you, Isa, for your lovely comment.
You know about us not having any family, I suppose... it made giving birth harder, that noone cared. We are like the invisible people :) Like immigrants in our own country... it's strange.

Meghan said...

beautiful post. Please don't be embarrassed. I know how you are feeling - it is nice that you can be so open.

Isa said...

Thank you, each one of you. I have been touched and inspired by your words today.

x, Isa

Christina said...

I really admire you for that story about the lecture outburst. Personally, I wish I would turn emotion outwards sometimes and make it GO somewhere, and maybe make an impression on someone. My response to basically every emotion is to cry. Sad? Cry. Happy? Cry. Angry? Cry. Humiliated? Cry. Surprised? Cry. Relieved? Cry. Worried? Cry. You see where I'm going with this? It's uncontrollable and unproductive, and also so embarrassing because it's socially inappropriate to express emotion that way.
And I definitely agree with needing a break now more than with a newborn. 5-7 month-olds are bored all the time and that makes them exhausting. It's not as easy to just take them with you when you feel like eating out or going shopping, like you can with a newborn. I wish you and I lived close so we could have a little childcare swap!
Thanks for this post. Just what I needed to read today. And I LOVE that first photo. I think I would like a giant print of that to put above my couch in my living room.

Anonymous said...

Isa- I like you. I want to get to know you better.

That thing you did in the classroom sounds exactly like something that I would do...life would be so boring without people like this-us!

Also I feel indebted to S, for same and for different reasons. He has that spirit in him, to help people:)


sarafiina said...

Oh, Isa, there's so much I would like to write! Maybe I should just come over! :) But I just loved this post and I agree, it's good and beautiful to be emotional. That's why we are the way we are, as women, emotional, because there's a purpose for that. And I don't think these ups and downs of normal life are the same as depression, even though there's nothing to be ashamed about if you are depressed. I've just noticed I don't like it when normal emotions, even when it's sadness, are labeled as a medical condition that needs to be fixed. I think it's just normal and good to feel like you're feeling every now and then.

Annabella said...

Liebe (!) Isa,
vielen dank für diesen wundervollen post.
Zumindest mir lassen die grauen Phasen (und damit kenne ich mich echt aus) die Farben danach um so bunter leuchten. Sich immer mal wieder grau zu fühlen ist, glaube ich, total normal und wie ich finde auch gut und wichtig. Immer fröhliche Menschen sind zumindest mir sehr suspekt. Wenn ich zwischen Beruf und Privatleben springe, muss ich oft zwischen grau und manchmal auch tiefschwarz und bunt springen, was mich im täglichen Leben oft emotional "überreagieren" lässt. Aber macht uns nicht genau das aus?
Danke nochmal für den schönen post, es tut so gut zu hören, dass es anderen auch so geht.
Und deine Photos sind ein Traum - wenn ich dürfte würde ich mir einen Abzug vom zweiten für eine Wand in der neuen Wohnung wünschen.
Alles liebe, Anna.

Anonymous said...

Liebe Isa, ein schöner Post. Wie man an den Kommentaren sieht, musst du dich nicht schämen. Er ist ein tolles Plädoyer dafür, Gefühle zu zeigen. Man muss sich selbst Luft machen (der Ausdruck sagt ja schon alles!). Ürigens fand ich letztes Jahr die ersten Monate mit dem Kleinen auch wie einen Spaziergang und auf einmal zack boom bang: schlafen sie weniger, wollen bespaßt werden und man hat keine Zeit mehr für gar nichts. Aber auch dieser Kelch zieht vorbei, wie du ja sicher sowieso von Fe noch weißt. Einfach ein- und ausatmen. ;)
Liebe Grüße, Stine
PS: hier ein no-sewing-Projekt http://poppytalk.blogspot.com/2010/09/hindsvik-shop-guest-post-no-sew-pillow.html (musste an dich denken wegen eurer tollen Textilkleber-Monster-Tasche "damals")

chaton de luxe said...

What a beautiful honest post. Nowadays especially in the "cyber" world but also in the real one it sometimes feels like everyone is deliriously happy. It's sort of the new "stepford wives" where everyone is perfect.
I have to fight back tears even when I watch commercials so I know what you are talking about! I sometimes wish I was less emotional but more and more I am of the opinion that we cannot truly change our basic makeup and it is pointless fighting it. Better to go with the flow, like a little boat on the waves, sometimes up, sometimes down.... Sending you much cyber hugs!

c said...

It is so so so so nice to read and see your blog. I love that are daughters are the same age and that I can relate, enjoy, commiserate, and learn from you!

Frau Haselmayer said...

Thank you for sharing this! There's times when I feel really sick of all this shiny, (supposed to be) inspiring blogs and their perfect lives. Danke und liebe Grüße aus Nürnberg nach Finnland :)