I stole the title for this post from an interior design book I saw in a friend of a friend’s apartment in Sweden. I liked it because it so neatly summed up my impression of Swedish style (I am going home to paint my walls white, throw out half my belongings and organise the hell out of everything that remains). The first thought that came to mind, however, was my sobriety journey.This trip has been interesting, wonderful and thought-provoking so far. I have seen a part of the world in northern Sweden so beautiful it has made me want to cry with happiness. I had forgotten, in the rush of things, how beauty can light me up inside. It has been like a spring clean for my soul – these cool countryside walks in the almost never-ending daylight, the dreamless, jet-lagged sleep, cups of coffee soothing the language barrier with my friend’s mum in her cozy kitchen.
During our first two days in Stockholm, I met a lot of new people. It is oddly liberating, making a first impression on people who haven’t heard much about you before and, for me, making that impression independently of children to tend to and a husband to rely on when other interactions are too hard. I have not had to do this for a long time.
The impressions I made were good (and I have a half a dozen new Facebook friends and a guest room booked with future Swedish visitors to prove it). When I am not wallowing in a hungover fog of self-pity and anxiety, I can be warm, positive, curious. When I feel good enough to bother, I dress well and have great hair. I like this woman. I’d like to see her more often. I wander why I can feel so self-assured and emotionally resourceful amongst strangers on the other side of the world, yet so crippled by self-doubt and irrational panic at home.
Clear and graceful. Uncomplicated. If I could take anything home from this adventure, it would be this feeling.