3YRS & HOW WE MET

Today it’s been three years since we laid in his bed the night of Friday 13 and he asked me to be his girlfriend. How insanely long is that?! We are celebrating with drinking whiskey at the cinema tonight and having take out in bed.

Some of you might remember when my 19 year old self met this mysterious Canadian but I figured it’s time to properly tell the story of how we met:

Linn+Daniel

foto Frida Vega Salomonsson

It all begins one late night in June 2011. Outside it was vibrating hot and we were out at night in only mini skirts and a tan. Olivia and I were still new to London and spent every second exploring it. This night we had a pre-party at our house, drinking K cider and playing messy summer music on the balcony with our neighbour James. As so many times before, we took the double decker 8 down to Shoreditch and went to our regular bar Catch. That was back when the crowd was still cool and the magazines fought over taking people’s portraits there. The queue was overwhelmingly long but we skipped to the front, kissed the bouncers on the cheeks and snuck in. In the midst of east londoners wearing dirty shoes and naked skin we danced like nothing could prevent us from ever being anything but 19 and ignorant.

Sometime during the night we bought beer by the bar to cool down. A young man tapped me on the shoulder and asked what my name was, what music I like, and everything else people ask when they don’t know each other yet. He was tall and handsome with dark hair and the iciest blue eyes I had ever seen. We got 7min of conversation before Olivia pulled me away as we were late meeting our friends in Dalston. I turned to the handsome young man telling him that I had to leave.

– Can I at least get your number? he asked.

I thought that it was pointless, I knew I didn’t want a boyfriend until I was done with London and by then I’ll be at least 35. But I also thought about how painfully pretty he was. For once I decided to compromise, wrote my name on a note from the bar and told him to find me on facebook. It said Linn and nothing else, leaving it up to destiny and his research skills to find me. I left and returned to doing dumb things with Olivia, completely forgetting about this encounter.

Two months later, I was visiting my family in Stockholm when I received a Facebook message from a tall and handsome man with dark hair and icy blue eyes. Apparently not that many people are named Linn in London after all. The message read something like this:

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I sat in my parents garden with a flattered heartbeat and brief panic. I never thought he’d find me. I wrote back saying of course I remember but I’m out of town but who knows perhaps when I get back. He told me to get in touch once I was in London again and I thought that that will never happen, I’m too shy and too happy being single.

Another six months went by when suddenly another message popped up in my inbox. It was him again. He had found this note once more, the one with my name on it, and he knew it was even more weird and more awkward this time but would I be up for actually meet up for a drink?

I read it on my flickering pc screen and felt that this must be the bravest guy in this world. He’s asking me out again after having been pretty much turned down twice. I’m such a sucker for brave hearts (and pretty eyes) so this felt irresistible. 

Our first date was at the pub the Royal Oak. In my nervousness I had accidentally showed up 20min early and was now hiding in an alley around the corner, high on nicotine from chain smoking five cigarettes in a row. I told myself that now you have to get your fucking shit together and then I went inside. For 15minutes I was standing alone in the packed bar, thinking that I had been stood up, before he arrived, late. What an asshole, I thought but he quickly made me change my mind because he turned out to be pretty lovely. My plan had all along been to have drink or two and then go meet up with Olivia, because how fun can dates be anyways? Instead I was having hell of a time as the hours flew by. When the bar closed we continued from one bar to the next. At 3am we had ended up at Catch where we had first met that one sweltering night in June. To the pulsating beat of hiphop he pushed me against a wall and kissed me.

The date lasted over 24 hours. Probably a record for first dates. I woke up in his bed the morning after and he took me for brunch up in Hackney and coffee at Broadway Market. It felt impossible to have this much fun with a hot stranger and then leave it. So I asked if he wanted to meet again. And he sure did.

Turns out that London was even better with him.

 

Linn

SELF HATRED & ASKING FOR HELP

The past week at school was perhaps the worst I have experienced in my life. We had a project where we worked intensely on personal development and reflection on one’s persona. I had tasks where I had to expose my deepest of secrets to people I don’t want to dislike me. Already at lunch I panicked and wanted to leave. My program managers and my project partner had long talks with me convincing me not to.

I sat down in front of my classmates with my body shaking violently, hysterically, trying to find words but instead I choked and teared up. The task was reading out my weaknesses and see how we could turn them into opportunities. I couldn’t. Instead my head was flooded with self hatred and doubts so reading it aloud slashed up all infected old wounds and shames for all to evaluate. The following two days I wept nonstop, thinking that this, this is when I die. 

For the first time, probably ever, I had to ask for help regarding my personal issues. And it took more than courage – it took fucking vulnerability. I was sure they’d hate me but nobody even frowned or found me disgusting when my whole body shook from fear and sobs. Instead they grew from being able to help. And their help was invaluable. I keep on thinking I know myself and have my shit together, but I don’t at all actually, which is fine too. Nobody fucking has, but we all go around pretending, feeling lost alone. 

During these nights Daniel stayed up with me on Skype, trying to comfort me for hours and hours, and on Saturday he arrived in Stockholm.

We stayed in bed and I read out loud all the things I had written down during the week that I feared that people would find out about me. I told him about my eating disorder as a teenager and my loneliness in not being open with my parents. I told him about how I’m scared to talk about my feelings because I’ve never leaned on anybody and that’s why I write so much because then nothing of it seems real. I told him about everything that hurt. But also everything I am proud of and the tools I was given on what to do to not ache as much anymore. He just listened. Patiently, attentively.

 – I will help you get through this, Linn. I promise. And it will take time, but that is fine. We will do it in your pace.

I didn’t have any tears left, just hollowness and relief. So I hugged his chest as he held me, listening to his lungs and his silent worries. Then we laid in bed, eating cheese doodles and sweets naked, binge-watching House of Cards and talking laughing breathing. I think he felt relieved too. I texted my project partner I did it.

He’s my rockstar Daniel, but this is my battle and I’m going to get through this only by pushing myself to open up. It will take a long time, but I will. I am just so grateful to go to a school that works so much with mental health.

 

Linn

This is the hardest text I’ve written because it reveals so much of what I doubt about myself. But the stigma around self hatred, especially for females, has to stop. And it’s important to seek help from professionals! Maybe we can help each other by sharing?

OVEREXPOSED MEMORIES

L&D

I can’t remember the last time it was like this. At least five months ago, because that’s how many months we have lived split lives. But I’d say it was even longer ago, perhaps before you went on your motorcycle trip down in Cali.

Maybe it was that weekend when the summer sky was boiling hot and even more evil, whipping our house with its anger. The streetlights flickered and at the end of our road several rubbish bins fell and empty cans slammed the asphalt time after time. The rain flooded the windowpane and let the light dance in the projected streams across your skin. London lay quiet and we were probably short of money as usual or just in love because leaving the house was not an option.

I only wore pants once during those days. It was when we ran the 150m in the pouring rain to the tiny off license to buy tortellini, canned soup and ice cream. Back inside we were drenched down to our bone and didn’t hesitate to strip as no flatmates would be home for days. The wooden floor wasn’t even cold against my skin.

The rest of the time we spent in our bed discussing or streaming series whilst building mountains of empty wrappers and cans. Several times we had to turn up the volume when the thunder made our door shudder.

We must’ve watched something scary because I had to wake you up in the middle of the night so that you could check so that nobody had broken in. Afterwards we laughed at my being so scared of the dark and I fell back asleep on your chest. Downstairs our wet shoes didn’t dry for another four days. I don’t think that I for once those days remembered that there were other people in the world.

Now, perhaps seven months later we finally got to do nothing but stay in the house again. This time here in Stockholm. No friends to see, no city to explore, no money to spend. Just us. And I got to properly remember how that stormy weekend smelled, because it smelled like you.

 

Linn

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I hate aching but it is almost worst not to

Daniel, Södermalm

Daniel was visiting again here in Stockholm a few weeks ago. He’s a star, spending his money flying over to a colder and more expensive country just for me. I must be fabulous.

I hate that I’m getting used to living away from Daniel. I don’t want to. I hate aching but it is almost worst not to. To instead finding it normal not to live with my boyfriend, to not share a home and a life. And I’m constantly terrified of letting our life slip just slightly too far that I get so used to us being apart that being together would feel even more odd.

Therefore I force myself not to settle down too much but to constantly be ready to fly back. So I shed every little thing that would tie me down just a little more. Phone contracts, gym cards, doing up my room so that I like it, owning a bike or even making too many new friends. I refuse to become one in the long line of couples who fall apart when they are apart.

And when he comes and it’s worth it all, I mean I die inside in the happiest possible way. But it’s confusing, and heart breaking.

 

How do you deal with long distance relationships?

 

Linn