January 3, 2019
It was my first day of the year. It wasn’t actually the first day of the new year, but since I spent the first day of 2019 trying to recover from New Year’s Eve, and the second day of it with two friends contemplating basically everything and nothing, it was my first day of the year.
The bed I woke up in is not my own. It’s been about a year since I woke up in a bed of my own. I’m renting someone else’s apartment. Every morning I wake up, looking out through their window. It’s not a window I should get attached to, but I like the view here. This time of year, especially, when the trees are naked.
It’s the living situation in Stockholm, one of Europe’s fastest-gentrifying cities. Here, you need to wait more than 10 years in the city’s housing queue to get a first-hand rental apartment contract. Approximately 15 years of queuing could get you a decent place in an area of your own choice, unless you can afford to buy one. So I ended up renting short-term here.
We’re also in the middle of a political crisis. It has been four months since our last elections for Swedish parliament took place, but we still don’t have a new government.
They didn’t mention this political crisis on the morning news when I turned the radio on in the kitchen. Instead I heard about a train crash in Denmark. Eight people died, the worst train crash Denmark has seen in decades.
I also heard news about a Chinese space probe having reached the backside of the moon, this very morning. The image of a space probe landing on the astronomical body that rules my zodiac sign, Cancer, sparked a chain of thought while I was preparing a smoothie; from Chinese neo-colonialism in Africa, the poem “Whitey on the Moon” by Gil Scott-Heron, to my deep sorrow over the fact that I myself will probably never ever set my foot on the moon.
Nevertheless, I made it to the gym after drinking my smoothie.
The gym I go to is a very special place. I don’t know if this is the case in all gyms, but here, everyone is already physically fit. Spending time there can feel like taking part in a very odd beauty pageant. I was the last one in to the group workout session Shape Up, and people were noticeably annoyed when I stumbled in and grabbed handles. Two kilo handles, I’m not trying to impress anyone.
For forty-five minutes we did some weird exercises that made my whole body hurt, and after that I hit the shower and sauna. I stayed laying on my back in the sauna for over fifteen minutes, sweating and thinking of love. What is love? Baby don’t hurt me. According to the feminist scholar bell hooks, who uses a definition of love first attributed to philosopher Erich Fromm, love is to contribute to one another’s spiritual growth. Where there is abuse, there cannot be love.
As I left the gym and headed back home, rejuvenated, I felt motivated. Today was a good day; I’d already been to the gym. Sometimes doing something productive and positive can cause a chain reaction.
When I arrived back to my place it was 2 p.m. I made breakfast, answered emails, gave my mother a call to check in. I called the phone company I quit in November, to ask them why they’d sent me a bill for December, and I made someone named Nils remove the bill.
I went to a book store to buy a new red pen and after that to a café where I ordered a coffee with oat milk, the smallest they had because caffeine makes me looney, and sometimes my body can’t tell the difference between a caffeine rush and an anxiety attack. At the café, I spent time working on a short film script and observing two thirteen year olds, who were drinking coffee and on social media. They recorded tiny videos of themselves and it struck me that I, very often, act just like them. Telling the world what I’m up to right this second, no matter how uninteresting it may be.
The short film script was coming along but I had some difficulties determining whether I should cut it down to one simple situation. I felt like I needed some input so I sent the script to other script writer-friends.
Then I had an appointment at a computer store to search my laptop for errors. The computer brand had sent me an email saying I should do this, since my device could risk a hard drive crash, due to something they had possibly by mistake installed on the hard drive. This increased my fear of multinational technology companies, and artificial intelligence, and the apocalypse. Luckily, the technician did a quick search and found there was nothing that had to be done, and nothing to worry about.
I could keep my computer with me, and perhaps manage my upcoming deadlines. I’m writing an essay about power hierarchies between different feminisms,. I’m approaching the issue through a discussion of my Instagram art project @whitefeministmeme. So I took my external brain back home with me again.
It was rush hour. As a freelancer, I have the privilege of almost always avoiding public transport during rush hours. The exhaustion in people’s faces when you’re squeezed between bodies is deadly. I have a masochistic urge to just stare at them, all of the tired and gloomy eyes in this hyper-capitalist era. Sometimes I want to yell out loudly: We’re all feeling bad! Can we at least smile at each other, and hold our mouths with our arm wraps when we cough!
Yes, I suffer from germophobia.
When I got home, I got into a bit of an altercation on Facebook that left me feeling weird. So I called a friend. She reminded me that nothing matters and that we’re all going to die. It does comfort me somehow, the idea of everyone dying. It also helps me go to sleep at night, which I did right after we hung up the phone.