Christmas Came Early


Christmas came early – I wasn’t ready!
My fridge was all empty, my house was not cleaned
Nothing was wrapped with beautiful ribbons
Nothing prepared to be opened and seen

Still Christmas came, though I tried to outrun him
To keep him in front, to buy myself time
“I want to be perfect for Christmas!” I told me
Purposeful, whole, enlightened, sublime!

But he didn’t care if I was ready
He simply arrived


Yes Christmas came early this year, when you found me
And although I tried to push Christmas away
You untied the ribbons, you unwrapped the wrapping
Of gifts I’d forgotten, of presents astray

You filled up my fridge with all that was missing
You helped me to clean, you brought in a tree
You smiled, and I knew then: there’s no use in running
‘Cus Christmas will come when HE’s ready, not me!

Changing The Story


I don’t know why it happened this time, but I’m back again
My body ice cold, aching, I can feel each individual cell fighting to survive
Emotionally, I’m experiencing dying
Mentally, I feel blank

I’ve made it alright through an intense day of meetings
Like a dying flower I’ve given it my all
But now, back in my hotel room, the exhaustion is overwhelming and I sink down on the carpet in the middle of the room and let my head rest against an armchair

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

It used to happen mainly in hospital situations
Going from calm and rational to fighting for my life in a split second, something no one would believe until they’d witnessed it themselves
Subconscious fear, consciously irrational, leaving me exhausted for days afterwards
But lately: this feeling of dying

I close my eyes, knowing there is hard work to be done
I empty my mind and I let myself travel… 


I see her there in the darkness in front of me, a child lying on the icy road
I kneel beside her and ask her what she needs
“Get me off this road!!!”, a hissing sound, despair in her voice
So I lift her up and I move her over to the shoulder

I put my arms around her and ask her what she needs
“I’m cold”, she whispers, “Blankets.”
So I wrap her in thick woollen blankets

I gently rub her wrapped up body and ask her what she needs
“Is there anywhere safe I can take you?” I wonder
“Is there anyone I can bring here to make you feel safe?”
I make suggestions, but she doesn’t answer
I can feel the bottomless fear inside of her
Nothing seems to give her comfort
So I hold her as best as I can
An unsafe little girl next to a road in the cold winter night

Suddenly a white horse appears out of the darkness, and there is some relief in her voice as she cries out “Shazmir, you came back!”

“Can you light candles all around us?” she asks after some silence
So I light thousands of candles in a circle around us
Brighting up the dark night

I ask her what more she needs
But she shakes her head and only says “please stay here with me tonight”
So I stay with her


Me, a beautiful white arab horse, flickering candles and a petrified girl wrapped in woollen blankets
She, waiting for death
Me, waiting for the morning
And I cry the tears I need to cry for not being able to protect her
For not being able to make her feel safe


Slowly, slowly dawn is coming
A pale winter sun breaking through the darkness
I ask her what she needs
She seems confused by the daylight and her answer comes slowly, but reluctantly she admits she needs to go home
So I put her on Shazmir’s back – it takes some tries to find a position that does not hurt her too much – and we commence the slow walk back home in the crispy winter morning

I ring the doorbell
Her parents open and I ask her what she needs
“I need to lie on the couch in the living room. From where I can see the ocean.” she replies
So we put her on the couch, and I ask her what she needs
“I need my family around me” is her answer
“I need them to talk and laugh and play right here next to me, so that I can still belong. I need to feel their joy that I’m there, not their sadness that I’m hurt.”
So the family gathers in the living room with her, continuing their lives by her side
Whilst she heals on a green couch – not in a dungeon by herself

I stay around for a while, watching her spirit rise, her face shifting, her body relaxing
But eventually I know I’m not needed anymore
I can hear her bubbling laughter as I sneak back into my own world
Knowing that she’s safe
That she won’t even miss me
Now that we have changed the story forever


Swimming 🔊

ian-espinosa-311604To you
It’s a beautiful ocean

To you
It’s warm waves rolling in
Caressing your feet
As they sink a little into wet summer sand

You wave at me from the shore

You shrug as I do not wave back


But I’m caught in a rip
And my arms are frenetically swimming and swimming and swimming!

To stay where I am
To not drift away
Out into nothingness
Out to where no one will wave from the shore!


Was I born swimming – was I born in this rip?

I don’t even know anymore…


So I swim towards shore
To stay where I am
To not drift away
To see when you wave

Here, in my rip
I feel safe when I swim
Swim towards shore
Swim towards you


And not until he suddenly appears behind me
Not until his strong arms reach for me and pull me out of my rip
Not until he brings me back to the shore, although I’m kicking and screaming
Not until he sits me down on the warm sand and tells me that everything is going to be fine
Not until he holds me – silently, patiently – for minutes and hours and days and months
Not until I finally let go and my body stops swimming

Do I realise
I’m exhausted

Do I realise I was never safe in that rip
Swimming – to stay where I was
Swimming – to belong in your life for a second or two
As I saw you
See me
From your shore


Until he pulled me out
Your wave pulled me forward
The rip pulled me back
I stayed where I was
I knew nothing else
But MY rip and YOUR wave

I knew nothing else
But swimming


Going Home


The other day I found an old, brown napkin in the pocket of my winter coat. 

It was a folded memory from a cold winter’s eve, a dinner at Jah Bar with my good friend Pete. A night of careless enjoyment – of life, red wine and a seemingly endless stream of delicious tapas being brought out from the restaurant kitchen. Pete’s suitcase was tucked underneath the table. He had just arrived from some faraway Neverland, and was to stay with me for some days. Or weeks, who would know. I had a home to offer – a renovation site turned upside down but nonetheless a home – and we were both excited to be spending some quality time together. 

Pete is a visual artist. A photographer and creator of crazy things. When words catch his attention he likes to visualise them. We talked about life, love, dreams, ideas. He soon grabbed a pen from his jacket and started scribbling down some of my words on his brown paper napkin. I talked about how I wanted to feel, and he drew a cross on the napkin and entered my four words in capital letters, one in each square. As the evening came to an end and we left to head home, tipsy and happy, he stuck the napkin in my pocket. “You keep this one”, he said.

I have worn that winter coat on many cold nights since that evening two years ago. I’ve felt the napkin in my pocket, but never really looked at it. I knew the words. I did not have to look.


I’ve been mid-year reflecting, and the theme of 2017 so far seems to be ‘home’. I’ve been recurrently going home. Home to Sweden, home to mum and dad, home to past. Home to me – my sometimes uncomfortable truths, my fears and wants and needs. But also home to future, home to a new family, home to love. I found the one who gently cracked me open without letting me break. I got him as a birthday gift! Standing in the bathroom of a Hong Kong hotel a week before the big day I finally surrendered and asked for love. Staring into the eyes in the mirror I asked myself what I really, REALLY wanted. “To spend my 40th birthday with someone who loves me”, was the unexpected reply, and a stab in my heart confirmed it was true.

He arrived four days early, running towards me with excitement. Bravely putting his foot in the door. Staying with persistence. Wearing his heart on the sleeve. No, he was not the perfect picture I had painted. I resisted, I wanted to run, but my heart kept saying “stay!”. “You cannot ask for love then slam the door when it three days later arrives at your doorstep!”, it said, and so with panic in my eyes I took a leap of faith and followed him to Vietnam. I spent the strike of midnight of my 40th birthday in a breathtaking rooftop bar in Ho Chi Minh City next to a stranger in tuxedo, feeling…loved. 

Now, nine months later, he is no stranger. I still feel loved, more so than ever, but I also feel safe – safe to speak my heart and mind without risking to loose that love. Safe to be fully me in all my irrational complexity. Relying on that he will capitalise on my best interest. Knowing that I will capitalise on whatever is best for him. That is trust.

I am proud of our love. It inspires me even in my most self-critical moments.


It’s July, and winter is holding Sydney in its arms. For a few weeks crisp clear skies are forcing the temperatures down to single digits during the nights, and my winter coat has once again a prime position in my wardrobe. As I was getting ready to go out the other night I found the old napkin and put it on my bedside table. Yesterday, whilst cleaning, I picked it up, unfolded it and read the four words Pete wrote – “SAFE, INSPIRED, PROUD, LOVED”. Four sides of the same coin. Turning it over, there was a quote: “We’re just expanding – Johanna”. Then, as I unfolded it further, I was astound to read two more words in capital letters, words I had no memory of ever saying: “ACCOMPLISHED SINGER”.

Did my heart silently remember those words as it told me to follow a stranger on his way to Vietnam to perform? 


As I started this blog early last year I was petrified of judgement – not of strangers but of those I love. Petrified that their love would turn out to be conditional, that the honest me would make them turn away. Petrified of hurting someone with my feelings. I had blogged before, but always hiding behind ‘funny’. Pushed forward by an invisible hand I found myself diving into the raw core of the uncomfortable feelings I feared would leave me abandoned if expressed. Like a child testing the boundaries of love. Finally. I guess at some point in our lives not trusting becomes more painful than abandonment, than rejection, than the fear of loosing something we in that case never had. 

It’s been a long time since I posted regularly. I’ve written hundreds of texts and poems, then lost the feeling and left them hiding for no-one to see. Now, feeling safe, proud, inspired, loved, my old craving for acceptance is no longer the driving force. Now, feeling safe, proud, inspired, loved, what is it I want to share and why? Where is ‘home’ for my writing? Where are my words not just adding more noise to an already screaming world? 

Truth is whatever was felt for a second, and it stays true although that second is gone. I need to remember that when I no longer relate to my words and want to toss them away. That they are still true. What’s noise to me may be a melody to you if you’re tuned in to the right radio station.


This is where I am right now. Sitting with the feelings that belong to love, but also with those that belong to change. Both comfortable ones and uncomfortable ones. Taking one step at the time. Slowly, slowly going home. Home to SAFE, PROUD, INSPIRED, LOVED. Home to an accomplished singer and his two teenage daughters. Home to expansion – through challenges and uncertainty and brave leaps of faith.

Home to all that was written on a folded, brown napkin in a tapas restaurant on a cold winter’s eve.