The Things We Sacrifice

6tnyptjp6u-samuel-zellerso we break up
me and you
and we divide our life between us:

you get the guilt
I get the grief
we both get the missing

I keep some of our friends
you keep some of our friends
and some disappear in the middle – without the ‘us’ there is nothing for them to hold on to

you give me our everyday places – I get the cafes, the beach, the sun
you get the wind stroked islands and the long summer nights
without even noticing, I give you the whole northern hemisphere!

I get to keep my laughter
but I give you the sudden ugly faces that always made you smile
I leave them with you – no one else shall ever know them

I give you music – the music is yours!
but I find my dance
my swirling dance of freedom

no one gets the compass
no one gets the map


we sacrificed

as we humans do, when we leave parts of us behind
forget them in places, forget them in people
in relationships
in love

Song For The Less Bitter 🔊


I once tried to be friends with this guy. He was a perceived solution to a deep longing for belonging – of sharing similar interest of renovation, interior design, music and getting dance floors pumping. We could talk kitchen taps for hours. I believed – and still believe – that we could have been great friends. 

He at one point sent me an acoustic recording of a song he’d written, asking if I’d like to write some alternative lyrics. It was called “Song for the Bitter”. An angry heartbreak song. I listened to it once, twice, three times, then wrote these lyrics in half an hour, recorded it in one take on my iPhone at the kitchen table, and sent it back to him. I called it “Song for the Less Bitter”.

Some things should not be overthought.

He never really commented on it. Maybe he overthought it…

It’s still a break-up song, sad but not bitter. Letting go is hard and painful. Sometimes we hold on for too long, afraid of that pain. Telling ourselves the lie that we don’t know that life has other plans. That we don’t know that it’s time to let go. I kept his “Do What You Want”. It beautifully illustrates the point where we’ve stopped holding on, but are not yet truly letting go. We feel powerlessness, not acceptance.

It was never recorded to be shared, and I feel a bit selt-concious about it since I’m not a singer, I’m a lyricist, but here it is:

(If you’re reading this via email, you unfortunately have to go to the blog post to get the soundcloud link. Sorry. Click the title.)

Do what you want
I don’t care about it
Do what you want

Go if you want
I’m not standing in your way
Go if you want

I’ve prepared myself for this moment for so long
Knowing one day when I wake up you will be gone

You smile, I’m crying
My tears are poison to your heart
We love, I’m lying
The lies are tearing me apart
But we close our eyes and sigh
All along we’ve known that some love must die

Leave if you can
But pack my pain and take my tears
Leave if you can

Do what you need
We’ve been holding on for years
Do what you need, leave if you can!

Our love was never right but it was strong
It kept us hostage, when we both knew we had to move on

You hide, I’m crying
My tears are poison to your heart
We love, I’m lying
The lies are tearing me apart
But we close our eyes and sigh
All along we’ve known that some love must die

Doors are closing we must never go back never go back
Back again
Hearts are bleeding, we are letting them mend letting them mend
Mend again

Do want you want
I’m not even gonna look
Do want you want
Leave me alone
I don’t want to show my tears
Do want you want, leave me alone!

I’ve prepared myself for this moment for so long
Knowing one day when I wake up you will be gone

You lie, I’m crying
My tears are poison to your heart
We love, I’m lying
The lies are tearing me apart
But we close our eyes and sigh
Cus all along we’ve known that this love must die


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.

Only If You’re Silent Will I Love You 🔊


Photo credit Pete Longworth []


Bodies merging
Euphoric happiness
Loving confirmations
Minds connecting effortlessly
Talk of dreams and future

How could this possibly not be right?

♥️ ♥️ ♥️ ♥️ ♥️ ♥️

You move in
Sense moves out
But I’m too happy to notice
Too happy to notice that nothing gets resolved, nothing develops
That words are empty diversions from anything that might hurt
I’m too happy to notice that I’m not really being noticed

Bodies merging
Euphoric happiness
Loving confirmations
Minds connecting effortlessly
Talk of dreams and future

How could this possibly not be right?

♥️ ♥️ ♥️ ♥️ ♥️

Our first disagreement, and you go silent for days
I ask you to hold me but you can’t
I ask what you need to be happy again, but you turn your back
My heart is slowly starting to ache
But I don’t want to listen
Instead I put it in a box and I store it away

Bodies merging
Euphoric happiness
Loving confirmations
Talk of dreams and future

How could this possibly not be right?

♥️ ♥️ ♥️ ♥️

Work is stressing you, an email makes you mad, and I see you slip away before my eyes
I beg for you to talk to me, to connect, but you don’t see me
I try to understand, figure out how to help
“You can never understand!”, you say, annoyed with me for trying
“You have never done what I’m doing, you can never understand my suffering!”
And my heart is aching again, inside its box

Bodies merging
Euphoric happiness
Talk of dreams and future

How could this possibly not be right?

♥️ ♥️ ♥️

Weeks of silence-treatment, followed by remorseful apologies and blissful connection
Heaven and hell alternating, and I tiptoe around, afraid to trigger the latter
You promise it will all change, later, when this and that is done
Later we will go travelling, meet up with friends, be happy, start living life
But I see your deadline move with a pace identical to time itself
I know “later” is not approaching, but I want to believe you
I really want to believe you

Bodies merging
Talk of dreams and future

How could this possibly not be right?

♥️ ♥️

I’m a bottle of suppressed emotions and silenced words and I’m getting fizzy
In tears I tell you my formula: let me talk, cry, then hug me and I’m fine!
It’s worked for decades before!
You look at my tears in despise
“You’re mentally ill”, you tell me, with your white coat on and your psychologist voice, and with a big plaster over my mouth as the only treatment you end the conversation
And I believe you

“Only if you’re silent will I love you”, are the words I hear
and I accept the terms

So we don’t talk about us
Instead, we talk about everyone else
Judge other people’s relationships, other people’s actions
And there’s a lot to say – no one is really quite good enough
I hear myself judge with you, and my voice is foreign to me
I don’t know it, and I don’t like it
But I’m desperate for release
At least we are talking, and I can let some of my own feelings seep out without you noticing
Without you punishing me with your silence
And it’s keeping me from exploding

It is our only glue, the talking of others
At least in “us and them”, there is an “us”, and I’m willing to sacrifice everyone else for your closeness, your connection
Because by now I’m starving
I know how you think so I say the right words
We bond by building a wall around us
Building connection by disconnecting from the world
I see it grow, the wall, and soon it’s too high for anyone on the outside to see me
“There’s only you – we’re all alone in this world!” you keep telling me
And I hear a weak voice inside objecting, but I can feel it now, the loneliness, so I cling on to the nearest rock

My heart is screaming from inside its box, and the dim echo vibrating within me finally has me acting, turning to the only medicine I trust: space
I go away, and I arrange for you to have the means to move out whilst I’m gone, to save our relationship until you’re done with your this and thats and our “real life” can start
You don’t
I come back, you are still there, and you talk about children
But not us

Bodies merging

How could this possibly not be right?


That box around my heart is starting to crack
My leaking heart is bleeding through – internal bleeding shutting down my system
I find myself on the bedroom floor, hyperventilating, in panic
“We talk about it tomorrow”, you say as you look up from the TV couch, for a second meeting my begging eyes
We don’t

“This is not working, and there’s nothing more to say”, you declare at breakfast
“I’m not going to talk about it”

“Only if you’re silent are you safe”, are the words I hear
and to save myself, I accept the terms
I rip my vocal cords out of my throat, leave you all I have left and run to find a place to hide and heal, in silence