One morning some years ago I woke up with this sentence in my head. Or, it was more like a banner. You know, those banners up in the air behind a chopper or a small airplane or glider. More common in Seattle than in Umeå. This morning was an Umeå morning, but maybe it was a Lake Union based airplane gliding through my head with this banner. Saying:
?Pain is the only thing tying me down.?
I was lying in my bed seeing, feeling this banner, and it was like a revelation. It was true! The pain is the only thing that ties me down! If I only could find the cure, the solution, the answer, the core to why my musculoskeletal system is so dysfunctional and causing all these problems and physical pain, nothing would tie me down!
And I was asking myself: ?What would you do?? And the first picture that came to my mind was me in a summery dress throwing a very light luggage into the trunk, pushing the top down button on my Chrysler Le Baron convertible and driving all the way through Sweden smiling with the sun on my body and the wind in my hair and visit all my friends who I haven?t seen in years, scattered round the country. I might even had those little car gloves on. And definitely shades. The second image was taking off to Seattle without the slightest fear of anything bad happening, nothing going wrong, confident that this will be so much fun. So much fun!
And it?s still true. The pain is the only thing that ties me down. Well there might be a few other things, like lack of self-confidence and self esteem. On the other hand, I have that extreme will power and determination compensating. The bottom line is: if my musculoskeletal system was working like it was supposed to I could work more and make more money. Rephrasing: I am always working, but if I didn?t need to consider what my body allows me or doesn?t allow me to do, I could hunt for and take on different and more assignments.
Now, are all my dreams about what I could do based on money? No, certainly not. Most of them are simply about being able to move without pain. Simply? And then there are those who aren?t dreams, they are utopias if it wasn?t for heaven suddenly opening up for a downpour of obnoxious wealth right above my front yard.
So, just to let you know that my dreams haven?t drowned in my bitterness I will simply make a list. And these are dreams for myself. Of course wishing a healthy, happy and safe life for my children and then peace on earth and global warming and all that solved is above this. These listed wishes, dreams and utopias are only for my own pleasure, contentment and happiness. And they come in no specific order, very randomly nailed down. So, here we go!
· Sit on the stairs of my front porch having breakfast.
· Learn how to tango.
· Make a beautiful pond with a curved wooden deck inside the stone base from the long gone barn on my front yard.
· Open up a place: restaurant/stage/ library/coffee shop/gallery/ bar/ cultural scene (working title The Place) in Umeå bringing here the spirit and playfulness of Seattle.
· Walk to Brunnsjön (an one hour walk) with my Nordic walking bungee poles, or around Green Lake (which used to be to short for my needs).
· Scan my black & white photo exhibit of 42 selenium toned pictures about Seattle and my Swedish village, Away is Home, Home is Away, and make it a beautiful book.
· Take a downtown stroll and look at everything being built (in Umeå and Seattle) while lying here on my couch.
· Go to a concert.
· Open up my great room upstairs to the south, building a small glass porch/add-on on top of the entry front porch.
· Buy the Smith Tower and invite filmmakers, musicians, writers, artists, crafts people and all kinds of creative entrepreneurs to create the coolest work place in the world.
· Do three heavy workouts at the gym a week.
· Open up for a door and a balcony in my bedroom facing the precious morning sun.
· Go to the movies.
· Realize my plans for a downtown Umeå boutique selling my own line of quality souvenirs U.M.E.Å! during The European Capital of Culture 2014.
· Stand on a chair (to reach things).
· Take an impromptu trip with a friend, just like that!
· Open up a downtown Seattle Studio Stolterman Storytelling office in the former Washington Mutual Tower, facing the Sound and the Olympics.
· Move around without back support.
· Sit for hours and hours with my beloved neighbor Alida, drinking our tea and talking about life and death.
· Tell the Nordstrom story on film.
· Hand-wash my cars.
· Find my favorite place in Italy where I would bring my new video camera which is still to purchase and stay for three months, establish the Italian I am learning with reading the newspaper every day, and document people?s life stories giving to them as presents. And then I would go back there, again and again and again.
· Pick something up from the floor.
· Add on a room with beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows facing west, big enough for my great aunt?s beautiful furniture now somewhere else, a grand piano and the Christmas tree, a room letting the summer evening sun in. On top of that a patio outside the second floor great room.
· Go downhill again. Black slopes. Yayy, yayy, yayy.
· Have a (Seattle and Umeå) downtown shop till you drop afternoon with a friend.
· Buy the little white wooden church in my village and together with all my children make it a unique and very special concert hall.
· Curl up in a sofa chair with my legs underneath.
· Put together my texts and mini short stories illustrated by Trouble 1 in a book.
· Pick summer flowers from the ground.
· Hunt for and take on now impossible assignments for work.
· Make the fields west of the baker?s cottage a tucked in sweet little lake.
· Clean my house.
· Buy a city view penthouse in Seattle. Or a houseboat. Or both.
· Climb a ladder (to get to The Treehouse/Kojan)
· Travel, travel, travel!
· Keep a Great Dane (Grand Danois).
· Dry my clothes and linen outside on a clothesline.
· Build a big porch outside the ?window room?, facing west and the sweet little lake.
· Stand up and sit down without the fear of being stabbed by a knife in my back.
· Keep a sailboat. Or a Chris Craft. In Seattle.
· Sing my songs so that people can hear them.
· Do yoga, Pilates or any of those things that would make me feel and look good.
· Lye on a beach.
· Spend hours and hours in my darkroom.
· Winterize and renovate the baker?s cottage, making it the cutest guesthouse.
· Change linen in my bed.
· Move to Seattle. Have a life in Seattle. Have a love in Seattle. Buy my Friday flowers at The Market. Be a Seattleite.
· Clean up my cat?s litter box.
· Cook. Although my home care angels Peter and Award?s dinners are so much nicer then mine, so that would actually be a loss.
· Keep strawberry beds.
· Dance, dance, dance!
· Shoot my film work myself.
· Making my grandfather?s dream of damming up the big creek to make a good size lake in the middle of the village come true.
· Have my meals at the kitchen table.
· Shovel snow. Or spend winters in Seattle
· Wear high heels.
· Make a romantic gate to my white picket fence.
· Put together my songs ? sheet music and lyrics ? in a book illustrated by Trouble 1.
· Take off the safety alarm from my wrist.
· Lift the front of the wood shed/coach house that?s slowly sinking into the ground.
· Mow the lawn. Or live in a penthouse or houseboat.
· Repaint my kitchen and entry. Myself. I used to do all kinds of painting.
· Go to a restaurant with a friend.
· Sit down on the grass and get myself up from there.
· Drive a white Mercedes SL convertible 450 1978 in Seattle.
· Build a bay window with French doors facing east in my kitchen.
· Record my songs
· Make my place a gorgeous rose garden.
· Light a fire in my ceramic stove.
· Make a little happy creek running down the grove to the field east of my house ? where there will be a lake when I realized my grandfather?s dream.
· Return the walker to my friend Eva and say thank you!
· Tell the redesign project of the Seattle Waterfront on film.
· Commercialize my white stained pine furniture line ? Stolterman of Sweden.
· Take Trouble 1?s, Lisa?s, Mats? and my show Life in a Tiny Purse on the road and make it a contemplative success!
Many years ago I was doing the laundry down in the basement of our Boyer Avenue house. And I noticed I wasn?t in pain! I could do the laundry without a problem, I hummed on a tune and I wasn?t in pain! And I found myself thinking: ?if I wasn?t in pain I could have another child!? This condition and state of mind lasted for a couple of hours and then it was gone. I was back to normal again. Jailed in to my locked body where dreams have very little chance surviving.
I didn?t even know I wanted another child. And listing all my dreams above has been an interesting experience. As my body has been extremely restricted for close to half my life now I have to dig deep to even find what I am needing, wishing and longing for. It?s to a large extent blocked out of my consciousness. And it?s the little dreams that are most hard to dig up, those everyday things.
When I grew up my dad taught me all those things that come in handy having on your repertoire: saw, nail, paint, chop wood, change tires. And I loved it. I loved feeling the power in my body and seeing the results of it. I even helped lifting the northwest corner of the baker?s cottage, and every time I am walking down the field noticing that the southwest corner now needs a lift, I am thinking about that Herculean moment with my dad and uncle.
You always have a choice. They say. Yes, there are a few things on my very long list (just to reassure you; this is not my bucket list!) that could come true, with some help from children and friends. But most are dreams. Or even utopias. Because, frankly, right now the idea of bending down, picking something up from the floor is as impossible as moving to Seattle or digging my grandfather?s dream of a village lake. ?Pain is the only thing tying me down.? I like that it sounds so simple. One little thing. Only one damned little thing.