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CHAPTER 10: Family ties

Following is a chapter from my book Free the girl – a story about (finding) self-love that DIDN’T make the cut. For obvious reasons; It was by far the longest chapter in the book and quite a bit too much off topic. But I really love this story so I thought I’d publish it here instead. <3

This chapter is indirectly about me. I’m talking about judging people without trying to understand them first and how you can connect with your past in a healing way and get to know yourself through your family.

I didn’t understand that a past that I wasn’t born to be apart of could have such an effect on me, until suddenly, one day when I learnt about my grandmother, Emma, my dads mum. This is a background to why, on one level, I am the way I am and why my parents are the way they are.

When you read this, see if you can connect to your own family history and see how that might have helped shaping you, and maybe you can reach a deeper understanding for and of yourself, your parents and/or grandparents.

Learning about my grandmother, really unknotted my soul in a way I cannot really describe. It was as if she needed me to understand her whilst I have only been annoyed that she never understood our world and me. When I finally put my ego aside I started to understand that some things can affect you even if you would’ve never believed they could. On a spiritual level I needed to connect to my past to understand the energies that was flowing and living through me. On a surface level I needed to understand not to just judge people without actually trying to understand where they are coming from and why they are the way they are. If I knew earlier I might’ve been able to just hug her like I loved her and remind her what love and connection means. I could maybe have been a person that gave her the joy she lacked. Instead I cried most times my parents left me with my grandparents and I blamed them without ever getting to know the people I blamed. I’m jumping ahead of myself here, this is my family:


My mum had nothing, emotionally, when she finally took her stuff and moved to Sweden. She didn’t even speak the language. She was dependent on her sister and her husband to help her settle in and live. When she met my dad, she was in a lot of emotional pain, filled with the same lack of self-love that I later experienced. Mum had been exposed to a lot of emotions growing up- Anger, guilt, shame was taking up the majority of her time, but there was also times of love and excitement. My dad grew up in a very emotionally restricted family where too much of anything wasn’t encouraged.

Mum gives a lot of love all the time, and when she is worried about something she cannot hide it. She is the million-question-woman and has to know that everyone around her is feeling good, then she can relax. My dad doesn’t share emotions; he will leave you to be until you ask him for advice or share with him how you are feeling. I learnt as I grew up that he has got it in him too, you just have to open yourself up to him first. Every time I show him love or excitement, he jumps in and shares those feelings with me, but rarely will he try and bring other people into his own emotional experience. You don’t notice the difference between when he feels rotten and when he is excited; it is like he has been taught that emotions are private. At the same time my mum was shown that privacy doesn’t exist.

My parents learnt how to connect  through being each other’s emotional opposites. Mum gave Dad some emotional chaos and dad returned some emotional structure. They argued about many things, like most humans do, but most arguments brought them closer to some kind of emotional balance. To this day I still hear them teach each other ways of handling things – like they are still getting to know one another, even though they have been together for almost 40 years . Around us kids, they never used the word argue. If they spoke loudly, and any of us kids asked them why they were angry, they said that they were just discussing loudly. They then tried their best to make us kids understand the balance they had found over many years of searching. They did that through freedom and love. Sometimes I flew out in space with all my freedom. I felt lost.

From the day I was born until today mum always want me on her lap, and from the day I was born, for some reason, I kept resisting that comfort. I wanted to walk by myself, not hold hands, not sit on laps. But once I got a bit older that was all I was afraid of; being alone. Not a day has gone passed without my parents telling my brothers and me how much they love us and I knew that they meant it with every cell of their bodies. My lack of self-love must have come from somewhere else. Somewhere deeper rooted than that.

I remember my mum as the most confident person on earth. She always wore ugly clothes and self-made beanies, and she wore them with pride. Like that black and white beanie with earflaps that she had made. She loved that beanie and wore it until the fabric was no longer a fabric, I am pretty sure it was just stardust in the end. I’ve never seen her in a revealing garment that exposes her tits or bum. Although she had a smoking body, she has never felt the urge to show it off to get attention. All her clothes were second hand bought, baggy and not your typical “feminine” style, she shopped more in the men’s’ department. Today she walks around in my older brothers clothes. He is a clothes hoarder, and as soon as he cleans out his wardrobe, mum always picks out what she likes. She often wears loose pants and even looser shirts. I can’t count on my fingers how many times I’ve seen mum rip off the legs and sleeves of her clothes when the weather has been too warm. She is like a Summer Hulk. When the sun comes up, she rips her clothes in the unsexiest way possible. Sometimes she doesn’t even bother to cut the legs off, she just rips them open on the side, so the fabric waves like flags in the wind from her legs. When she came and picked me up from school, waving her arms in the air with her black armpit hair showing I was so happy to see her until I understood that women should not have black armpit hair in this society. I cried and cried until she decided to start shaving her armpits and her legs. She had black hair on her legs and used to spray chamomile on them to bleach them. She then had golden leg hair with a touch of orange.

She didn’t have a lot growing up, not much money, not much material shit nor did she get much love from her parents. She made her own clothes and toys and survived on love from friends and neighbours. She describes her teenage years as darkness.

It’s easy to say that my mum grew up in a real shit hole, up in the far north of Finland. I’m talking a village with like 3000 people, if that. There was nothing to do there. Absolutely fucking nothing. In summer the sun was up constantly, and in the winter you rarely see it, and temperature could get down to minus 40 degrees Celsius. At my grandfather’s funeral, mum told me that her eyes froze together with tears.

Alcoholism wasn’t out of the norm in this village. My grandmother, Liisa, who was a schoolteacher went from being sober to an alcoholic quite soon after she moved up there with my granddad. She was an orphan. Her mum died when she was born, and her father died not long after in the Finish Winter War. She got raised by her three aunts that all felt so sorry for her that they spoilt her rotten. She never had to really grow up, never had to make decisions for herself. And when she met my grandfather she apparently was madly in love with someone else. My grandfather basically told her that he wanted her to move up to the shithole my mum grew up in, and she was so insecure and scared that she just went along with it. And my grandfather never heard the end of that. From the stories, my mum told me there wasn’t much love between them except from rare occasions.

The shithole of Ylinampa was and probably still is a place with a very incestuous aura. Everyone is related to one another in one way or the other. There is one tiny little shop where you can buy lollies and Muumin soft drinks. That’s about it. Without imagination, anyone would go crazy or turn alcoholic there. Everyone loved drinking together, and I don’t blame them. What else could they do?

One midsummer night one of the severely overweight neighbours got so drunk he passed out with his head in a ditch. He was too heavy to lift up that no one could get his head up from the ditch. If they wouldn’t have found a truck that could lift him up in such a short amount of time, he would’ve drowned. Faced down in the ditch. The truck went off and dumped this huge passed out man onto his back yard, sprayed him down with a water hose and then got him dressed in his mothers pink night gown – because that was the only thing around that fit him.

I’m actually named after one of the mums in the village, Maja.  She was a woman with many kids, and my mum felt comfortable in her company. Maja always sat at her desk, looking out through the window in front of the big highway that divided the village in two. She was sewing or knitting, staring at the clouds. One day in the school my grandmother taught in they run out of sewing needles and Grandma sent one of Maja’s daughters to borrow some from her mother across the road. Sitting in the window, Maja saw her daughter running across the street and get hit by a bus. She didn’t survive, and grandma blamed herself for that forever. Imagine living so closely together, everybody knew one another, and something like that happened.

This road was a horrible road. My mum’s cousin died there too, run over by a truck. And one day six year old mum got hit by a car without a horn. Maja sat in her usual spot in the window and saw mum as well, getting hit in the same place her own daughter had died. She ran out to carry my mum into her house. It was a big hit and mum got blood all over her new dress, but they didn’t know how bad it was until they got to the hospital. Before they got to the hospital mum begged Maja not to tell grandma Liisa about the accident. She was too afraid that grandma would find out that she had stained her new dress.

My grandmother had a very explosive temper, like myself, and you didn’t know what could set her off, but I’m pretty sure that she wouldn’t have gotten angry with that.

For a month mum was strapped onto a bed in the hospital. She had been hit on the head and wasn’t allowed to move at all. The big hospital was quite far away from where they lived, so her visits were quite irregular and not very often. The kids in the beds next to her always had someone there, and they got a lot of presents, flowers and attention. Mum was so jealous that she stole some of the gifts from the other kids. When she finally was released from the hospital; she had forgotten how to walk, and her big sisters had to carry her around for a while.


From what I’ve understood, my grandfather was a beautiful person. He was an introvert who loved fixing things. He loved all animals and let them into their house, the house that he had built for his family, in the shithole called Ylinampa. So many times my grandmother came home to a house full of squirrels. She got fumingly mad and chased all of them out, together with my grandfather. When he was fighting in the Second World War, he shot up in the sky instead of at the Russians because he couldn’t hurt anything alive. He hated to work a normal job, doing the same things over and over again. Instead of working for somebody he had his own projects going on. He was a good mechanic and always worked on old Mercedes’s and Citroens. He sold fish from Norway and built whatever was needed around the house. My grandmother always made fun of him for not having a real job, but she also praised him for being such a genius when she was in a good mood.

My grandmother blamed him for a lot of shit she went through. She blamed him for bringing her to the shithole, for becoming an alcoholic, for stealing her from the love of her life. Mum grew up in a house where you screamed and humiliated each other and where guilt was passed around like plague. Like the one time, my grandmother chased after a neighbour with her dirty undies on a stick, for example. Through the whole village. The village where everyone knew each other.

Liisa wasn’t a bad person. Me myself, I loved her. I loved her floppy excess skin on her underarms, and the way she constantly circled her tongue under her top lip. I love all the stories my mum has told me about her. Like the one when she was so mad with one of the neighbours because he hadn’t been visiting her for a while. (The fact is that he had been visiting, but she started to become more and more demented that, her short-term memory wasn’t as sharp anymore.) Anyway, the neighbour called in to check on her, and she said not to bother coming back again “You obviously don’t care about me anyway”. Then she threatened to throw her silicone fake tit, which she kept in her bra due to a breast cancer tumour, in his face if he came back. He did come back, because he too knew that that was just her defense mechanism acting. She was scared of being lonely, and as so many of us do, we tend to push people away even more when that happens.

She is the cutest, most childish woman I’ve ever met. And although I couldn’t speak her language we always had fun with her when I saw her. And mum’s siblings don’t all have the same bad memories as a mum. My mother was the second youngest, and she reckons that by then after already having raised four kids, they were both so tired and worn out that they had done enough raising.

My mum doesn’t hold any grudge towards her mum. Even when she tells me about how she hit her and her siblings or when she tells me about all the arguments when grandmother threw out the Christmas tree granddad had spent so much time decorating. She shares these stories with me so that I can understand, but I never hear any accusation in her voice. Mum knows that grandma did the best she could. For a long time, though, even after she had been with my dad for a couple of years, mum was determined never to have kids. She was too weak, too depressed and didn’t have enough confidence to give a child the upbringing and attention she knew and believed a child needed. She didn’t consider herself a worthy mother.  And when mum later decided to have kids, she wanted to make sure that her kids had the opposite of upbringing. No yelling, no humiliation and all the love in the world.

When grandmother Liisa passed away, my mum cried when she told me that the cinnamon buns she had baked when she was there visiting six months before, was still in the freezer. My grandmother loved cinnamon buns. <3


Dad, a pot-smoking law student with war damaged parents, and mum with no confidence, no self-love and a lot of anxiety, met through my mum’s neighbour in their early twenties. Mum was convinced that they were gay and hung out with them quite a lot. She wasn’t a big fan of the pot-smoking, at least so she tells me, but I have my doubts. One night, December 23nd my mum found dad under a Christmas tree. Dad is allergic to Christmas trees and has always struggled with eczema, but this night he looked worse than ever. His whole face was red and pussy, and he itched real badly. That night mum and dad became a couple. Under the Christmas tree, they fell and fell in love.

Dad was willing to do everything for my mum, and he put up with a lot of shit. He saw her and took her for what she was, and he went along with it. At the same time, he did everything he could to understand and support her. He let her fight her battles but was always there to support her. Even when she stole his Stereo, sold it on the street and bought tickets to run away to her aunt in Finland. He didn’t he get angry with her and give up. Instead, he followed her and, like in a movie, called her name out in the speakers of the boat terminal, telling her that he loved her for who she was, she didn’t have to run away. Even when she told him that she didn’t want to have kids he didn’t leave her. With or without kids my dad wanted to be with her. See my mum never run away from my dad because she didn’t love him, and she didn’t want to have kids because she didn’t love kids. She didn’t love herself, and she didn’t want to force anyone to be with her. She ran away from herself so that she didn’t have to deal with her. She thought that she did my dad and all the children in the world a favour when she ran away.

I believe that our parents and their past life play a big part in our own thinking patterns. Our thinking habits that create our reality. I am created with this family history behind me, and that must have its effects on me. I believe that if we just accept our thinking habits without questioning them, our reality will never change. We are brought up with our parents believes as guidance, but we can choose to question all of them if we just realise how. I won’t be able to do things I’ve been telling myself I can’t. I am what I tell myself that I am and choose to believe myself to be. Sometimes it can be hard to believe that you can be anything else than what you are based on the believe system that are passed onto you by your parents. We adopt or get effected by our parent’s way of living. When we are young, we see the world through their reality, through their values. And by the time we start questioning things, we have already created so many habits, and stories that we believe are the truth, many of them we are not aware of. But we can bring them into light, by questioning what we are doing and how we are acting and reacting in this world now. Today. Why do I value different things? What did my parents think about that specific thing? How are my thoughts connected to my parent’s thoughts about something?

I love my parents more than anything. My mum who secretly dream about slitting tires of big SUV’s because of their effect on the pollution. Every time she crosses the road in front of a big car she gives them the middle finger and walks super slow so that they will have time to think about what she is doing. She doesn’t care about what they think. In her mind she is saving the world from pollution. Even if she is angry with the cars and saying fuck you to the person driving it she is doing it with love for the planet, in the best way that she knows. She thinks that they would know why she is giving them the fuck you finger and doesn’t understand that they just think that she escaped from a mental institution. I love that she cares so much that she is willing to make a fool out of herself. I think that is something to look up to. But I question the way she does things and I know that she can put that energy towards something else once she realises it.

She also loves cutting trees, working in the garden and creating things out of concrete. Mention concrete to her, and she will go off for hours about how raw and real the material is. Today she makes the most amazing concrete artworks and furniture in her studio in Stockholm. We grew up in a rental property in Stockholm’s first suburb. If you have ever lived in a rental property, you know that there isn’t that much you can do to the property without breaking the rules. You’re more or less only allowed to paint if you agree to paint it back to its original colour once you are ready to move. Well again, my mum didn’t care. When we were ready to move out, she had teared up the floors in every single room (no joke). Once every six months dad got home to chaos mum had started. If it wasn’t tearing up floors, she pulled down walls and built in cupboards.  And every time dad walked into the chaos his eczema flared up again. Mum promised that he didn’t have to do a thing, but in the end, we all saw him carry things to the bulky waste storage room we had in the back yard.

When we later had the apartment inspected the landlord came with his notepad. As soon as we opened the door and he could see the wooden floor in front of him he just said: “Jesus I need to get my camera”. Mum had built this scenario up for months, she knew that it would happen, but she wouldn’t let him go through the apartment without knowing that she had made this to a better place and that it now, according to her, was worth a lot more (and to be fair I have to agree with my mum, she had made it beautiful, but it wasn’t up to us to decide).  The inspector walked through and scribbled things down his notepad with mum fumingly breathing in his neck. I remember how embarrassed I was. How could she speak to a stranger like this, when she knew that she’d broken the “rules”. 200,000 Swedish krona (roughly $22,500 US dollar) it would cost us, and mum didn’t know what to do. We didn’t have that money. She refused to shake his hand when he left, so I did it instead. I left to school, but before I did, I told mum to call my deeply religious aunt and ask her to pray for us. How could we come up with that amount of money? I have never seen myself as a religious person, but this called for a miracle.

We needed all the help we could get. My mum actually took my advice and called her sister. My aunt then called her friend from church, and they prayed for us together. Apparently, my aunt has told me, you have a lot bigger chance to get response from Jesus if you pray together. In panic of being alone with her thoughts, my mum left the apartment to go to dad’s work. When sitting at dad’s office wondering what the hell they should do the landlord called. He apologised for how he had behaved, although I still believed mum was the one who owed him an apology and said that he had approved of the apartment. We didn’t have to pay anything. Even though I do not identify myself as a Christian, I’m pretty sure this was all Jesus doing. Jesus, my aunt and her neighbour and church friend Sirpa.


My dad (Arvo) could probably be described as my mum’s opposite. He is the most unspiritual person but at the same time is the most spiritual. It’s a challenge to explain. He talks about himself in third person. One holiday, at dinner, dad raised his glass to “apologise on behalf of Arvo that he was acting so stressed at the airport”. Everything for him is complicated when travelling. His eczema flares up, and his voice travels up to his chest. It’s like an electric field of stressed energy is surrounding him at airports. But outside of the travelling situations, he loves meditating and listening to enlightened people. He loves soul searching.

My dad believes that Arvo lives in the carriage that is his body. If you ever see my dad, or his carriage and him, your first guess wouldn’t be that he is a person who talks about himself in third person and believes his body to be a carriage. At the same time he lives in the carriage, he also doesn’t exist. He is and isn’t at the same time. He is super cute and super confusing. His ears are hairy like a silver monkey if mum doesn’t trim them. They are the cutest couple. Mum is like a hurricane. Dad is like… mud. Mud in the most beautiful way. Maybe he is earth.

What they have done for me, and how they have put up with me and all my shit throughout the years, is to me fascinating. I mean, I was inside me. So I know. I was in the storm, I was the storm, and I couldn’t escape it. But they had to live with the storm. Day in, day out. And try to dance all kinds of sun-dances around me. They tried to calm the storm. But in the end, the storm could only calm itself.

My parents have done everything for me. They have loved me, trusted me, and believed in me. They have spoiled me, cared for me. They have been angry with me, and I have been angry with them. Oh, how angry I’ve been. Phones have been thrown into the wall, books have flown out the window, and doors have slammed regularly. But they have never stopped trying to figure out how to turn my anger into love. Self-love. And love for life.

I know that soon enough I can give back. I give back already. With love, and understanding. I give back with the fact that they can now be calm. But I’ve got a lot more to give. A lot more to do for, and with my parents. There are no actions in this world that can show how grateful I am for these two freaks of nature. Or three. Mum, Arvo and the carriage he is in.


I believe that my parents did everything that they thought was right for me, but that doesn’t always mean that they did everything “right”. In hindsight, I wonder what they could’ve done better, and what would have pushed me towards peace of mind earlier in life. Sometimes I wonder if I needed more rules, more rewards and more “punishments”. But then I wonder if that would have turned me into a robot who just follow the rules of society. And I don’t want to follow the rules, I want to do whatever I truly want to do. I don’t want to be disconnected from my emotions. I don’t want to do shit for a reward, or not do shit because I am afraid of being punished. I want to be free and connected to who I really am.  Maybe if my parents would’ve known all that we know today about nutrition and what a huge difference it can make with kids and their behavior I might’ve found some calm earlier.

I’m not trying to find the reasons for what went wrong in my childhood to put any blame or guilt on my parents, because I know that they have done everything for my brothers and I with love. What I am doing is figuring out solutions and solves for the future of my own children and for all people in the world who are in imprisonment in their own bodies.


My grandmother, Emma, on my dad’s side wasn’t the happiest of people. Neither was her husband, Ants or Hasse, my grandfather. You can see that their lack of emotions (or lack of showing them) got passed on to my dad. Remember how I said that my dad was emotionally stable and my mum was emotional chaos? Dad’s parents didn’t find the modern culture at all fascinating and exciting. They owned a lot of land just outside of Stockholm where they grew a lot of vegetables, fruit and berries. When we were there, we were only allowed to pick the ones that had already fallen from the trees. My grandmother was super strict and held back. She was the opposite of my Mum’s mother. I think that I inherited the chaos from my mum’s mother with all her anger, alcoholism and insecurity, and the imprisonment like rules, order and routines, from my dad’s mum. It’s as if both their energies have been living in and through me.

I have paid so much attention on my mum’s side of the family when it comes to the inheritance of destructive behavior that I completely forgot thinking about my Dad’s side, because nothing emotionally ever happened on that side. I cannot say that I disliked my dad’s parents because they were his parents, but we have never shared much joy and love with them. My grandfather had bullet holes in his body from the Second World War, and my dad is convinced that my grandmother was raped by Russian soldiers when she was running from the bombs in Dresden. It would be unfair of me to judge them when I can’t even begin to understand what they had been through in their life, and it is only now, when I am in my mid twenties, that I have started to realise what a life they both lived before they came to Sweden.

I don’t remember seeing them genuinely smile ever, but this photo somehow make me feel some kind of love. Mum told me that they didn’t smile at all when they hid meat in my mother’s curry because they couldn’t understand how somebody could be a vegetarian or when they found out that my father actually took on some of the laundry responsibility in the family. “What the hell is he doing in the laundry room?” my grandfather asked my mum when he got wind of his son running with IKEA-bags full of dirty laundry to the communal washing space a couple of houses down the road.

My uncles wife later started to look into our family history and learnt that Grandma – Emma’s own mum also died when she and her three siblings were quite young. Not long after their mum’s passing, they witnessed their father being shot by Russian soldiers. They had to run away from Estonia and got split up. Emma ended up alone in the Netherlands while two of her siblings went to Germany. One of the brothers got left in Estonia.

Through letter exchange Emma communicated to her sister that she was hungry and had no food. She asked her sister to look after their brother. He was only a teenager and angry at everything, rebelling, but who wouldn’t in that situation? He was stealing and refusing to work. Emma was in Berlin when it was bombed by the Russians. When I think about all the destruction, fear and emotional loss she has suffered, I am sad that I grew up thinking that she was boring and unfair. I wish I could’ve known all of this earlier so that I could’ve shown her love and curiosity, and not judged her. Finding all of this out, even too late, has taught me never to judge anyone because you never know what he or she is carrying in their soul.

When Emma had a stroke, she couldn’t stop smiling. It was like all the sadness and rules got sucked out of her. Like she forgot about the past and found peace in the present moment. She lost her speech, but I have never heard her talk so much, even if it wasn’t real words to us. She spoke emotions, for the first time in her life. She called daily to chat, but no one could understand her. I think that she felt a need to connect to what she had left of her family. At least once every second day she just rocked up unannounced, opened the door and just sat down at the dinner table. Sometimes it took a while before we actually realised that she was there. If she wasn’t at our house, she went to my dad’s brother. They usually sent her off to one another, her sons, when they couldn’t be bothered. So many times you just felt starred at, and there she was. Just starring at your back.


One day I was sitting home with my friend. Noone but us was at home, and then I saw her, grandmother Emma walking towards our apartment building, with her purple head scarf and her bag with god knows what in it. I liked stroke grandmother more than emotionally damaged grandmother, but the more social she became, the less she was able to look after herself. We found her eating cake with her glasses; she couldn’t shower or make food. She came with an odor, so mum usually stacked her in the shower as soon as she arrived. This time I just couldn’t be bothered with her. I just wanted to hang out with my friend without a speechless greasy grandmother breathing in my neck. I know this sounds super selfish, and it was, but it is hard to really care for somebody who has given you no effort to make an emotional connection until she had a stroke. If we would have laughed genuinely together once before the stroke, maybe I wouldn’t have told my friend to quickly run down the stairs and escape before she rang the doorbell. We met her half way down the stairs, and I explained to her that no one was home and we were going somewhere else so she couldn’t come home to us. She had to go to my uncle, I said. When she turned around and started walking towards my uncle, I felt relieved and guilty. She was just living her little life the only way she knew.

After never have really been able to connect to my dad and his sibling she now needed their company, every day, all the time. We walked to a hamburger bar near my house when we thought the coast was clear and were just about to order when I felt the stare. You know when you can feel somebody observing you? My grandmother was looking into the hamburger shop, palms glued to the window. I am ashamed to say this, but I jumped on the pokies machine to try and hide in panic, but next minute she was there, clucking like a Chook (her new language), trying to get something across to me. She pointed at the hamburger, but I pretended like I didn’t understand her, I knew that she just wanted a burger too. That might have been the lowest I have sunk through shame, admitting that I pretended not to understand her. To this day I wish I would have treated my grandmother with a bit of love and respect, and ordered her a fucking hamburger with fries and let her sit with me and my friend. I think I was 11 years old then, but I still hold on to that.

Emma and my grandfather Ants (Hasse) met after the war was over. Ants had met Emma’s sister Vera before the war and fallen madly in love with her. Ants sent out announcements in the newspapers looking for Vera after the war, but couldn’t find her. Emma accidently saw the announcements in the papers and contacted Ants. It turned out that Vera had found love in LA by then so Ants thought that Emma would do the job. In the letters he asked Emma to come to Sweden; he had found a job as an engineer with LM Eriksson and said that Sweden was full of opportunities to start over. Emma had been working as a sewer in Berlin and got a job in Sweden at a fabric store not far away from where I grew up, as soon as she arrived.


Hot tip

There has always been one extremely happy and loving side of me, one very depressed, panicked and destructive, one angry and frustrated and one controlling. I suppose that we all have bits of this inside us, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I have carried both my grandmother’s energies along with me. And just realizing this make me feel as if I have been able to release them. Free them. I feel connected to them in a way that I have never done before because I have never really had a relationship with either of them.

When I went to my mum’s friend who feels energies, she told me that she could feel a young lady’s energy standing next to me. She was heavy, sad and lonely from memory, and both my mum and I was convinced that it was the energy of her mum. Now I have got a strong feeling that that lady was my dad’s mum, Emma, and something within me feels a lot lighter after that connection.

I have carried with me the energy of two lost orphans, trying to live life the only way they have been able to, and I have judged both of them. But now, in realizing that I have no right to judge either of them, it has healed me and made me feel stronger in myself than ever before.  



1. Look at your own family; try to imagine what it was like for your parents and grandparents to grow up. Write down:

5 things they didn’t have (first your parents and then your grandparents) that you have today (e.g. smartphones, money, computers, internet, TV, friends, parents, schooling)

5 things that they (first your parents and then your grandparents) had to go through that you haven’t had to go through (e.g. War, working before they were adults, raising their siblings, growing their own food, your grandmother mightn’t have been allowed to vote or work just because she was a woman!)


2. Try to put yourself in their shoes. What would a normal day look like, what would they have to go through to get to where they are today? (War, school, moves, jobs)

3. Write down 3 things that you believe that your parents or the people who raised you, and your grandparents don’t understand about your life today. Maybe they don’t understand smartphones and how teenagers communicate today, or a TV show you are watching, maybe they don’t understand your friends or who you would like to date.

4. Based on what you have just thought about, the differences in the worlds that you grew up in; see if you can understand where they are coming from when you disagree.


Just by trying to understand another person’s point of view and why they might have a different opinion about something, you 

might find a new way of communicating things with and to them. Maybe you will learn how to accept the way your parents/grandparents think, and understand that they might not understand your world completely in the same way you mightn’t understand their world completely. Just by trying to understand each others worlds you might get rid of some tension inside of you.