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How to panic-do a last minute Halloween costume.

Really late halloween content

Perhaps your plans to go on an over the day trip with your mother has also been canceled due to an uprise of corona cases. That is very disappointing, especially the lack of kebab that you will not experience. But on the other hand, you can now join your friends for a small and very much safer corona wise social gathering. The only problem: it is in less than 24 hours and you have no costume. Fear not, I have had the exact same thing happening to me, and am therefore qualified to talk you through it.  

Step 1: 

Looking at fabric options and freaking out

For me, this step was all about pulling fabric out of my overstuffed drawers and walking around panicked. I realised that most of my fabrics are with and/or green, but I also had some blue.    

Step 2:

Come up with a concept

The fabrics you have available will determine this, but for me with my nature-like fabrics the obvious choice was some kind of witch or fairy or other supernatural being. I did not have enough fabric to pull off some other full length clothed supernatural being, and I did not have enough time to do a pair of wings, so I chose the witch. 

For my witch I went with a blue see through fabric with a white organic looking patter for my skirt, and since I didn’t want to flash everyone I used a dark blue cotton fabric for a lining. I then chose an off-white fabric with embroidered leaves to make a top out off.

Step 3:

Making a skirt pattern.

I already had a pattern for a great skirt, it’s a high low skirt with pointy endings and it is just one big piece of fabric so it is quick to make.

Originally I had planned to make a full on circle skirt, but I did not have enough patience to lay my fabric paper in such a way that I could draw a perfectly round shape, and thus it ended up pointy. You can of course make a round skirt instead, but then you will lose the high low effect. To make this type of skirt pattern, I recommend using the magic of the internet to find a circle skirt calculator. I  used this one, it works in both centimeters and the American way of measuring.

Step 4

Assembling a skirt

For this skirt I took the outer layer and my lining layer and laid them right to right, pinned around the entirety, except I left two openings at the back, and then I sewed around it with a simple straight stitch. After sewing, it is important to press the seams with a flat iron, even if it always feels really boring. Then I turned the skirt “inside out” so the right side of the fabric was seen. 

I think my great resentment of ironing stems from having to take out one very clumpy ironing board.

Now I had an almost finished skirt that I could not finish, because I did not yet have a zipper. 

Step 5

How the fuck do I make a corsettop?

This step was started with a lot of watching of instructional videos, many of them on tik tok. Eventually I found a step for step tutorial by Nava Rose with a free pattern that could be printed out and used. Great I thought, except we still don’t have a new printer. I long for the days of innocence when I did not yet know what a luxury it is to have my own printer in my home. A time when I did not have to rely on my parents to print things out for me from work. A time when I could print everything I needed for my craft at once. 

Anyway, I had to re-think. Since I was short of time, I wanted to have it as easy as possible and preferably not have to make a whole new pattern, because that takes time and skills that I mostly lack. Luckily I had a pattern for the top part of a dress that I made in school forever ago that would just need a little adjustment. 

Step 6

Everything is going so well

To make the top I took the old dress top pattern and traced it on some plain white cotton which was left over. I have rarely felt as satisfied as when I did this, because there was just enough fabric. Then I took my parts, assembled them at their side seams with a straight stitch, after that I manipulated the bodice so that it would look just like I wanted. If you use an already perfect pattern there is no need for this and your life will be easier. 

After the bodice looked like I wanted, I traced it on to pattern paper so that I had a version of the correct pattern to trace out on my nice looking fabric. The assembly was as with the test object, straight stitched down the sides and don’t forget to press the seams flat.

Old and new pattern

Step 7

Things are still going fine with the top

Since I already had a perfect replica of my bodice (aka the one I manipulated) I decided to use that as my lining. I did as I did with the skirt, took the two parts, placed them right side to right side, pinned and sewed around with a straight stitch. I left an opening of around 5 cm to turn it “inside out”. But firstly I pressed all of the seams. A great idea is to cut small notches at the curved part (on the outer part of the seam that is!) so that it will lay flat when turned.

Then I turned it. Another great tip is to use something pointed to poke the corners out so they look nice and sharp and not rounded. I used the legs on my giraffe ruler, but closed scissors or a pen also works.      

Step 8

Shopping and putting in a zipper 

Now it was time for a shopping break, I needed to buy a zipper, some ribbon because I wanted to do a lace up back and some grommets to make the holes for my ribbon. The store had all of this. 

I did not have time or energy to sew a hidden zipper, so I chose to buy more of a statement zipper with silver zipper teeth. This was also the first time I tried the skirt on, and there for the only time I had to make adjustments in the size. It was a bit too big for me in the waist, so I made an angled fold in on both sides so that it would fit me and then I put the zipper on there. 

To sew in a zipper, the best thing is to use a zipper foot on your sewing machine, this allows you to get just right next to the teeth. You can also use a regular foot, you will just not get as close to the teeth. It is just like sewing regularly, you go down along the zipper, I used a straight stitch. It gets a little tricky when going past the pull thing, because it will often be in the way of the machine. Depending on the situation I either sew the side down in two parts, to the pull thing, then I stop, remove the fabric and change the place of the pull thing, then I return and sew the last part down. Or I simply lift the foot but leave the needle in, pull the puller upwards, let the foot down and continue sewing. 

After sewing the zipper I closed the rest of the back side up by putting the fabric right sides together and sewing straight up. I fucked up the part where the edge meets the zipper, so I can not explain how to do it and still make it look good. If you can, please tell me.  

And so I had finished a skirt fit for a witch. 

Part 9

Things goes really bad, really fast

Now it was time to finish the top, something I had very little time to do. No problem I thought, how hard can it be to add grommets? Turns out, really fucking hard. Firstly I could not do it at all, but then my father came to my aid and it turned out, that I was just not hitting the thing hard enough. Still, not even he managed to make all the grommets behave, so we tried other things. Like just cutting holes. In the end the straps on the top looked like shit and I was officially out of time.   

Part 10

Time for improvising  

The skirt was still wearable, so I only had to find a fitting top out of all of the tops I own. In the end I chose a black shirt with lace details that I felt were witchy enough. I have a pair of tights patterned with flowers that works really well with my whole “modern flower witch” aesthetic. To finish the look, I put on every necklace that was kind of occult looking, somehow I lucked out and they were all of different length making for a cool layered effect. I also put on a lot of rings and some bracelets. Worth noting is that I put on all of this in the car because I had no time to do it at home. 

For my hair I had slept with many braids the night before it was very fluffy. I did a half up half down ponytail. To disguise my hairband I cut out a long strand from the same fabric as my skirt and tied it in a bow around my ponytail. I had also brought some fake flowers that I bent into a  flower crown. To finish off the look I put on my ghost earrings and my dark red/purple lipstick.  

And that is how to do a last minute Halloween costume.

Side note: To make a garment look really good it is often good to do a top stitch around the entirety of it. This is to make sure that the seams lay flat. I did this on my skirt the day after the Halloween party when I had more time.

Let’s talk about Sia

Sadly I don’t mean the ice-cream company. I mean the singer. 

Beside singing she apparently also tries to direct movies, and on the 19:th of November the trailer was released. It got a lot of backlash, because it is about “Zu is newly sober when she receives news that she is to become the sole guardian of her half-sister named Music, a young girl on the autism spectrum.” (IMDB. n.d). Sounds nice right? If done correctly this could have been a nice, heartwarming movie with good autistic representation. Sia managed to fail on the representation front without even having to release the movie. Music is played by Maddie Ziegler, who is not autisitc. 

If a disabled actor is not cast to portray a disabled character, then the movie has already failed with its representation. It doesn’t matter how good the storyline is, disabled characters should always be portrayed by disabled actors.   

The best thing is (/s) that Sia did originally have an autistic actor, but she found the filming environment stressful and unpleasant. So instead of changing the environment Sia hired a neurotypical instead. This is stupid and frustrating in so many ways that I can’t even write it out.  

Another amazingly ironic thing she did was when she expressed her anger over the movie being judged before it could be watched. In a way Sia experienced what many autistics (and other neurodivergents) experience on a daily basis; being judged beforehand.   

She claims to have done a ton of research for this movie, but she did still pair up with Autism Speaks, which is more or less an autism hate group. For example, they have no, or close to none autistic board members. Most of their money doesn’t go to helping autistics and they want to cure autism. In short, they suck and now Sia does too.    

Sia did also refer to autism as a “special ability” rather than a disability. That just screams ableist to me. No one that truly respects autistics would say it gave us a special ability. I’m good at many things, but I’m also limited in many ways. You could almost say it hinders my life. Disables it even.    

Now, I can’t say whether the movie is actually good or not. But I have seen the trailer and from that one minute clip, I can tell that the portrayal of autism seems stereotypical, but I guess it is nice that Music is a girl? It is also a lot of things happening all of the time and that seems kind of exhausting to watch. That’s all you will ever hear from me about the actual movie, I have no intention to see it. 

I do not understand why neurotypicals insist on making movie after movie about autistics played by other neurotypicals and still acting surprised when we say we would have preferred if the actor actually was autistic.  

IMDB. (n.d). Music. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7541720/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_6

Books of September

Or, I really liked “Jag ser allt du gör”

Since I am the only person in my family that regularly leaves home for a longer period of time, mother asked me to borrow her book club’s next book for her. Sure, I said. After all, Stadsbiblioteket is less than three minutes from school, and we have so many long breaks. 

All of my first impressions of the book was confusion. Firstly, the title. It sounds like a crime novel, it isn’t. Secondly, when I first saw the book, the cover looked like a child with bad color taste had tried to paint a face. 

My mother had six days to finish it, it only took her three. But then again, I did it in two. 

I was unsure if I would read the book, I did after all have another one that I had already started. But then my book was kind of horrifying (Khaled Hosseini type of horrifying) so I took a break from it and read “Jag ser allt du gör” instead. It might be the best decision I’ve made this year, or at the very least the best decision in the month of September. It was marvelous. 

Annika Norlin excels at writing people. All of her characters are wonderful, hilarious and often heartbreaking. 

My favorite novel would have to be the last one, about a woman whose child has died and to deal with her grief she starts walking. I feel sad, often. I have obviously never felt ‘my child just died sad’. But still, I could relate so damn hard to the woman. I have never read something that describes sadness so well. I too want to just leave. By reading this story the feeling lessened.        

At other times Norlin’s writing was so fun. I loved reading about the musicians, it often felt like I was there with them. And come on, the shit they get up to is just hilarious. Really bad lyrics?, really terrible performances?, one really funny relationship that falls apart? This story got it all. 

Just go read “Jag ser allt du gör”, it deserves the hype. 

The story of why I quit fast fashion

‘it is now our responsibility to stop supporting a company that allows it to happen’

Let me take you back in time. It’s 2016, life is both easier and harder (my mental health sucked, but there were no pandemics). It’s spring time, it has just started being warm outside again. I’m taking what I hope is my last economics class. H&M has just had another scandal about how their seamstresses are severely underpaid.  

I’m in the first row, to the left next to the window. We are in one of the nicer classrooms, with high tables and chairs. They are all a greyish black. I’m wearing my obnoxious neon green blouse, it was made in Italy. The first page of our economics book is the story of how a white dress is made. Beginning with the cotton farmers, who get close to no money and work with harmful chemicals. Next is the fabric workers and seamstresses, both who also get close to no money and work in harmful factories. Then it is the transportation, the seller and the profit. In the end the dress is bought by a girl who is about to graduate, for a low sum of money, ie, around 300 kr. The majority of the money goes to the company selling the dress, not the people who made it. 

Our first lesson is a debate in responsibility. Is it the companys’ responsibility, the manufacturers? Or is the responsibility ours, the consumers? Since the H&M scandal became public literally days before our lesson, it quickly became what the debate revolved around. I say “Because we now know how badly the workers are treated, it is now our responsibility to stop supporting a company that allows it to happen. It is our responsibility to stay away from H&M until they fix the problem.”

I am not capable of saying something and then backtracking. It is not in my character. And since I had said it was our responsibility, I had to act responsible, thus I stopped with H&M. Eventually that stop spread to all other fast fashion companies, because even if there had been no news scandals about them there is no way to sell clothes that cheap without exploitation. We all know it, so for me to boycott H&M and not Zara would be hypocritical. 

During this time I was spending a lot of time with my grandmother, and a lot of that time was in thrift stores, so I had few problems with finding clothes that hadn’t recently been mass manufactured. It also helped that I had a good base of clothes, and that my feet stopped growing early. I still have and use socks from third grade. (They are great, the names of the weekdays are underneath, so when we had a spelling test on the weekday I simply wore the Wednesday socks and cheated.) Of course I will eventually have to buy new socks, just like I buy new underwear, workout clothes and pajamas. Since I’m still a poor student these things are bought in fast fashion stores, I do not get them second hand (even I have limits). But eventually I will be buying all of my clothes in a sustainable way, from places where I know no women have been exploited to make them. I look forward to that day. There are tons of great companies, so if you can support them instead of fast fashion, do it. 

So, that is the story. Nothing to do with the environment, just solidarity to women.

Enola Holmes and the gift that is letting teenagers play teenagers

I loved Enola Holmes so much.

The worst part was that it was only a movie, not a TV series as I have learned that many people, including my father, thought. I knew it was a movie from the beginning, but I still think that it would have made a great series. Partly because I wanted to spend more than two hours with Enola. Partly because I think that it would have been good for the story. It would have meant more time to develop the side characters and Enola would have gotten more time to do detection.

From time to time I would look at Millie Bobby Brown and think: She looks so young. Then I would get overjoyed. She’s a sixteen year old playing a sixteen year old!! Do you know how few shows I have watched during my teen years, where the actors were actually my age? Way too few, and I did not know how much I had wanted it until now. It made me tear up, multiple times.    

To be honest I do not think that there is any reason to cast people in their twenties to play highschoolers. I know that the common answer is that it is easier for filmmakers, because child workers have to follow different laws, among others I think they aren’t allowed work for too many days in a row. And like, I get that, but I’m a teenager and an adult. If the role calls for a teenager and they don’t want to bother following extra regulations, just cast someone that is eighteen to nineteen. It is not perfect, but it is way better than having actors in their late twenties playing a sixteen year old. 

When I was twelve maybe, I  watched a lot of The Vampire Diaries. The main character, Elena, is supposed to be seventeen. Nina Dobrev was twenty one when the first episode aired. The same goes for most of the rest of the cast, although the men playing vampires are closer to thirty than twenty. To be fair, I have no idea how old they were supposed to have been when being turned into vampires. Anyway, twelve year old me got very high expectation of how I and my classmates would look when we were seventeen. No one lived up to it, because guess what? We looked like seventeen year olds, not twenty somethings. My skin wasn’t clear, we did not wear new outfits everyday. Life was (is) still awkward. 

And my last reason: Why even make movies and shows that take place in highschool? If you just want to make a film about young attractive people dating each other, not studying, having absent parents and drinking excessively,  just have them be in college. College means freedom to do all kinds of weird shit without it being too unrealistic. High school sucks enough anyway, so make high school shows to inspire teenagers and realistically portray it. Save the odd shit for college. 

Enola Holmes was wonderful, and correct representation is once again necessary. It is almost like we like connecting to people like us on the screen. Here’s to hoping for more movies with Millie Bobby Brown, an actual teenager.

Growing up in a dystopia

What kind of economic growth is worth my future? Can you put a price on that?

It feels a bit weird to grow up in the beginning of a dystopia, knowing that I can do nothing to stop it and that those that can stop it, does nothing. 

I can’t even remember when they started teaching us about climate change. But I do remember being told not to take the car, because it was bad for the environment. I must have been at least eight years from being able to get a driving licence, what the fuck were we supposed to do? 

I should not feel guilty when buying something new. I should not have to feel bad about having to take the car as much as I do. I should not yearn for when I can move away from home and stop having plastic packaging around. I should not feel apprehensive thinking about what my future holds. 

My friend sometimes jokes about dying young, because the world will be too fucked to live in, when we are fifty. Sometimes I don’t think she’s joking. Sometimes I agree with her.   

Back to school. I don’t think that there is one subject where the environment isn’t mentioned. I’m eighteen and I’m already getting tired when they mention it. We know. You don’t have to remind us. We can’t do anything. Please don’t make me have yet another climate based project. I don’t want to debate different kinds of energy. I don’t want to read about how poor countries are affected worse than others, even though it isn’t their fault. I don’t want to live like this. Fix it!    

I hate reading about Greta Thunberg. It makes me so mad that a girl one year younger than me, has to be the face for the climate movement. It wasn’t us that fucked the world up! We should not have to be the ones to fix it. It makes me so mad that the grownups won’t take their responsibility. Fix what you wronged!

Also, fuck Lyskekil! What kind of economic growth is worth my future? Can you put a price on that? 

I once complained to my mother about grownups not doing the right thing, and she told me that idealism belongs to the youth and that grownups become cynical. But mother dear, I have been told about the world’s independent doom since I started school. I am as cynical as it gets. Still, I refuse to give up, I will not let the greed and comfort of adults destroy the world. I refuse to go down any other way than fighting.

Updated about me

Hello, my name is Johanna and I like words.

My first language is Swedish, then I learned English and I’m currently studying French. I like words in all languages, so next I’m planning on learning either Greek, Russian or Arabic, please help me choose. 

There are two primary reasons for why I write in English. One, I prefer to read in it, therefore I write in it. Two, I would like to get an A in English at some point and practising writing can only help. I think that it’ll finally happen this year now that I’ve got a new English teacher. It will not be as satisfying, because I doubt my new teacher is as meticulous as my former teacher. 

I’m honestly kind of a boring person whose goal is to never stop learning or leaving the academic world. To achieve this, I plan on becoming some kind of scientist, most likely a chemist but we’ll see what the future holds. The one thing I do know, is that I really don’t want to remain in Sweden, I would love to live and work in some other country.

I sometimes fantasize about walking into libraries where most of the books are in English. Can you tell I like reading? I probably write too much about books, but I shall not stop. Also, is it possible to talk too much about books? Worth noting: I care very little for spoilers, I don’t care if things get spoiled to me and I don’t leave spoilers out. Read at your own risk. On occasion I will leave a numerical rating on Goodreads.       

I will write using sources (when needed). Since I believe strongly in honesty and good sourcing I will always refer to them. I’ll be using the APA system because that is the one we currently use in school and therefore the one I’m most comfortable with. This means that all of the sources I’ve used, will be linked at the bottom of the page, in alphabetical order.  

I will write about politics, environment and equality because it needs to be said and I care about my opinions. I will also write a lot about autism because I’m autistic and it’s just my life. If a word, saying or sentence is followed by an (/s) then it was meant sarcastically, hopefully I will remember to write it always but feel free to ask if you want clarifications.  

Other fun facts about me:

I have two horses, one cat and sadly also a dog. I’m so not a dog person. He’s the only dog I can stand to be around.

I do not want children. Also, having the dog has solidified that opinion. 

I like clothes and photography. On occasion I will post pictures of me wearing clothes, or just of other beautiful things on my instagram. Same name as the blogg. 

I love climbing but I also have a fucked up wrist and it pains me to say that climbing is often too painful. But all the doctors and specialists I’ve spoken to say that I will most likely no longer be in pain when I’m twentyfour so I’ll only have to wait six years to start climbing regularly.

I don’t like the concept of five fast facts so I’m not sure why I choose to write some of my own. 

And that was your brief introduction to me. To learn more, I think that there is a subscribe button? Or just read what I have already written. I try to update once a week, but school likes to keep our workload inconsistent and I’m bad at planning ahead.

Books of August

Romanov 

Nadine Brandes

This book suffers from either an identity crisis or just a case of a really bad summary.  

When I borrowed the book I was expecting action, adventure, magic and not much historical accuracy. That was what the summary said, “But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.” (Goodreads) That sounds like action to me. But no, the first ⅔ ‘s of the book is what I assume a fairly historically accurate retelling of their time in exile. With very little magic, and no action. 

If they just would have written it, I would have had no problem with it. Historical accuracy is fun, and I would have found it interesting to learn more about the Romanovs if that had been advertised. But, since I was expecting fantasy and excitement, I just found it boring. 

Brandes also fails at assuming what people already know about the Romanovs and the revolution. My knowledge is limited to the movie Anastasia and a brief history lesson in connection to the World Wars. The book starts with the Romanovs already exiled and abdicated and explains nothing of what has happened before, or who the different actors are. Side note, I really dislike it when a book is written in English, but the characters are supposed to be from some other country and to show this, they at occasions say random words in their mother tongue, but for the most part just speak English. It is weird. 

That said, the last ⅓ was more of what I was expecting, magic and action. And once I got to it, I found the book quite enjoyable. Had it been advertised correctly I think that I would have liked the entirety.   

Six of Crows 

Leigh Bardugo

Whenever I read fantasy heist books I go through multiple stages. The first is always: Oh no, a fantasy heist book. The last one is always: Why don’t I read more fantasy heist books? I really should read more fantasy heist books.

I honestly have nothing to say about the book other than it was good and that the characters should have been older. The oldest of the main characters was eighteen, most of the others were seventeen, but one or two of them were even younger. Having young characters is often not a problem, but it becomes odd when all of them act like grownups. There was no fumbling teenagingness going on, no awkward romances, no uncertainties. They were all selfasured, well dressed, eloquent and did a lot of things you can’t imagine teenagers doing. Like killing people. It kind of made those scenes funny, I could not help but think that they were younger than me. 

Overall, great book, weird ages.    

Son of Neptune 

Rick Riordan 

The best part of reading this book was when I had to go home and ditched my friend’s Swedish copy and borrow my brother’s English copy. That ment that Riptide was once more called Riptide and not Tidvattensvåg, English is so much cooler. 

But for real. The Swedish translation is at times ridiculous. Books are just so much better in English. Fight me!

As always Riordan writes brilliantly and fun books enjoyable for the whole family. I can’t wait for the TV adaptation that I’ll pirate watch because I don’t like Disney.

Stop Burying your Gays, and Other Representation Problems.

There is a lot one can write about representation, and this barely scratches the surface. Nevertheless it felt good to write. Please educate yourself further, perhaps starting with the links I included at the end?

There are a few things in literature and movies that I can’t stand: abusive fathers, cheating couples, love triangles. But the absolute worst one, is the unnecessary killing of LGBTQ+ characters, commonly known as “bury your gays”. So when “The Letter for the King” fell victim to that trope in the last few minutes of the first season it was as dead to me, as the gay kid was dead in the show.     

The thing that makes it even more absurd is that “The Letter for the King” is very much a kids show, focusing on representation! All of the actors are of appropriate ages, not twenty-somethings playing teenagers. And they are of multiple ethnicities. The main character is black, the chosen one is female. The supporting characters are a diverse group, and when two of them, males, began a relationship the representation was at a top. The show is not only great at representation, it also deals with some heavy topics that kids need to learn about: racism, class prejudice, war and other moral questions. All important stuff! So why the fuck would they bury their gay?

Firstly, an explanation on “Bury your gays”. Bury your gays (also knowns as Dead Lesbian Syndrom) is the name of a TV trope where, kind of self explenatory, the gay (or any typ of LGBT+) character dies or have an unhappy ending (TV tropes, NDa). 

The origins of this trope are awful. It comes from a time in Hollywood when the only way to portray gay people was to have them pay for their so called immorality (McConnaughy, J, 2016, 29 of Mars). This was due to the Hays Code, which banned many things considered immoral, such as nudity and sex, blasphemy, as well as interracial relationships and homosexualiy, both of which were considerd perverted! (TV tropes, NDb). 

The Hays Code was made by Hollywood, but it wouldn’t have had to be a thing, if not for the fact that the US Congress were already planning to make laws for censoring films. This, due to public complaints of the “perceived lewd content of films” (TV tropes, NDb). 

Nowadays there is literally no need to kill gay characters. Homosexuality is no longer seen as shameful and bad (in these parts of the world) and there is nothing stopping people from writing happy gay stories. Still, it goes on. 

One example is of course “The Letter From The King”. But there is also “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, “The 100”, “Arrow”, “Brokeback Mountain” and way more tv series and movies (TV tropes, ND). 

Well, now that we all know what “Bury your Gay” is; let’s talk about why it shouldn’t be done. 

It’s because representation matters. It’s as simple as that. Stories have always been human things, we tell eachother things all the time. Nowadays there are stories everywhere. Not just stories we tell eachother, there are movies, books, blogs and so forth. But, what does it do to you, if the characters that are just like you, always meet a bad faith? If you can’t get a happy ending? Constant heartbreak and death? I would get pretty depressed, and I’m guessing you would too. 

From personal experience, I tend to avoid autistic characters because I know that most of the time, they will be nothing like me and I’ll just be disappointed…I do not have a perfect memory. I do not like trains and I do not have that much trouble connecting with people. I would just want to see people like me, who get overwhelmed easily, don’t like eye contact, do like structure and occasionally don’t get the social context. And, you know, is a woman. How hard can it be?

That is also what I would like for others to see. Because, as Nancy Wang Yuen writes “on-screen images can shape our views of reality”(2019, 22 of May). So if all you ever see, are autistics with superpowers or just in general autistic white men (who often act like boys), then that will influence your perception of autistics. This, of course, applies for all types of representation. 

Bad representation of people like me is mostly an annoyance, and a reminder of sexism. But to others, especially people of color, this is outright dangerous. If we want “Karens” to stop calling the paid murderers (Police) on black people, who are just existing, then a part of it is to stop bad representation. It will not fix centuries of systematic racism. But perhaps it will stop some “Karens” -actions and save some peoples’ lives in the end.  

Good representation in movies is important both for the person being represented and for the people watching. It will not fix everything, but mixed with other “fixes” it will lead to a better, more tolerant world. Something we desperately need. Also, I just want one cool autistic woman with a well developed story line, played by an autistic woman, to look up too, please. 

Representation matters. Black life matters.  

Shortly after I wrote this I started having second thoughts, perhaps I was too mean, too controversial about coops. Maybe I shouldn’t have called them paid killers. But then I saw the news. On the very day that I wrote most of this text the police shot Jacob Blake, a black man, in his back eight times in front of his kids. I no longer hesitate to call them paid killers. That and the fact that Breonna Taylors killers have not been arrested, it has been over five months.  

Sources

Beside my normal sources I will also link some articles.

https://www.nytimes.com/article/breonna-taylor-police.html – The NY Times, about Breonna Taylor 

https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/8/25/21400481/jacob-blake-kenosha-police-shooting-riots-evanston – Chicago Sun Times, about James Blake

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/us/minneapolis-police-george-floyd.html – The NY Time, about George Floyd

https://blacklivesmatter.com – Official site 

The movie 13th (det 13:e tillägget) on Netflix is good to watch.

McConnaughy, J. (2016, 29 of Mars).What Led to Lexa: A Look at the History of Media Burying Its Gays. The Mary Sue.  Retrieved from 

TV Tropes. (NDa). Bury Your Gays. Retrieved 2020-8-14 from 

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BuryYourGays

TV Tropes. (NDb). The Hays Code. Retrieved 2020-8-19 from 

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/TheHaysCode

Wang Yuen, N. (2019, 22 of May). Why Is Equal Representation In Media Important? Forbes. Retrieved from 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2019/05/22/why-is-equal-representation-in-media-important/#89654082a84e

Disabilities are difficult. Aka, they come in all shapes and sizes

So, I had this weird moment last fall. I had booked dance classes with my friend, and we were really looking forward to them. And then we had our first, it went well. I liked the dance, I liked the people and I liked the music. But afterwards my wrist was hurting. 

The day of our next class had been a bad day, my wrist had hurt at multiple times and I did not feel like it would have been a good idea to force it to do more physically demanding things that day, dance class was cancelled for the day. 

The next week was the same. So, there I sat with my friend. On the top floor of our school, having to debate with myself if it was worth the additional pain to do something I liked. The answer was no, dance class was cancelled for an unforeseeable time. But while I was sitting there, debating with myself, I suddenly realised that the injury that I had been living with for maybe two and a half years at that point was a disability. 

For some reason, that also made me think more about my autism diagnosis. I rarely think of it as a disability, it is just a part of what makes me awesome. But there and then I understood that not everyone saw it as a strength. I want to be careful here, it is something that makes my life more difficult, not some weird supertalent that people can write books about. But it is me, and if people around me behave respectably then it is more of an asset to me, than a hindrance.     

I hadn’t really thought about my diagnosis and what it meant for me. On one hand I was still myself, nothing had really changed. I knew that I was autistic before it was confirmed.  On the other hand it felt like everything had changed. It was official. It was something that others could use against me. Like the police, and military (fuck them and their “Come as you are” campaign). People could use it to discriminate against me. 

I understand where the discrimination comes from, uneducation. I’ll even admit that I at one time thought of myself as autistic but not  “Autistic”, kind of like how Isak in Skam was gay but he wasn’t “Gay”. Or how most girls go through a “I’m not like other Girls” phase. It is an attempt to distance oneself from a stereotype portrayed in the media that isn’t recognizable. An attempt that I realised was meaningless once I had spent time on parts of the internet where I could interact with all types of people and get educated. I came to the realisation that I am not better than anybody else and that all ways of being is equally valid. 

Other fun things that happened when I got my diagnosis, I started seeing casual ableism. What a joy. My best example of this is from the fall of my first year at Hvitfeldtska. It was in English class, we were reading The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime (btw, bad book) and we were preparing for a written exam with the book as a base. We were to answer three of four questions with well thought out arguments and all of that fun English stuff. And since my (former ) English teacher wanted all of us to do our best he gave us one of the questions beforehand so that we could prepare properly. The question was “Do you think that Christopher is a reliable narrator?”. Objectively a really good question, it both tied on to the book and to the lessons we had had about different kinds of narrators. We had to discuss the question two and two. As far as I could hear they all said no, he isn’t a reliable narrator. And while it wasn’t said outright it was his autism that made him unreliable. It was partially harrowing to hear the girl I was paired with list characteristics that Christopher and I share, as a reason to why he was an unreliable narrator. That was my first time experiencing casual ableism and one of the reasons that I started writing. 

To this day I don’t know what my teacher’s answer to the question was, or what he intended with it. All I know is that in my text I wrote passionately about how the question was discriminating and wrong. It was one of the first things I wrote at Hvitfeldtska but it will without a doubt always be the one that I’m most proud of. But that moment has stayed with me, perhaps it is why I have problems telling anyone about my diagnosis. Or perhaps I just think that it doesn’t matter and isn’t anyone else’s business.    

Another fun thing that happened was that my parents didn’t have any problem at all telling all of their acquaintances and friends. To this day I don’t know when we meet if they know or not, it makes me uncomfortable. I am a strong believer in being open about mental health in order to end the stigma, but be open with your own mental health, not anybody else’s. No shade to my parents, they did what they thought was best. I have seen way too many “family youtubers” and celebrities talk about things that their children do that I wouldn’t want the internet to know if it were me, so I have a vastly different opinion about what parents should share. I think I’m going to write a full text about it, so look forward to that. 

Anyway, back to my disabilities and back to that fall day on the top floor where I realised that I had been failed by the system. 

It was partially fun (/s) to realise that my wrist pain was in fact a disability. It is a pain that I have lived with since eighth grade, and I had never considered it a disability before. I had cried about it, I had been in unimaginable pain due to it and I had feared because of it. But never had I considered it a disability, because you know, a disability is something like being paralyzed or having lost a limb, something that affects your life daily.

 That day I realised that it does in fact impact my life everyday. That I hesitate to do certain things because I don’t want to be in pain, that I think and worry about it regularly and that I wasn’t able to live my life to the fullest due to it.            

There are two ways I was failed by the system. First one, no one realized that I was on the spectrum or that I was a “gifted” child (aka I’m really good at school). Had either of those things been realized earlier I would most likely not have suffered for three years and my education would have been more stimulating. I like to credit books for surviving school. 

Second one, no one took my pain seriously enough at the hospital. It took two weeks before I even got to see a doctor and she just sent me along to some physiotherapist that told me that I had a weak wrist. She didn’t even check my grip strength (it is perfectly fine!). I came back and I came back and I came back. It took two years before they sent me along to a specialist! Two years of pain and fear and uncertainty. Two years of no progress. This last year has been better, I feel seen, heard and helpt.                

I guess what I’m trying to say is that all pain is valid and that disabilities comes in all shapes and sizes. Just because someone has it worse doesn’t mean that you don’t have it bad, and all bad things should be taken seriously and treated. It doesn’t have to be as it looks on TV.

For those of you that are curious of what’s wrong with my arm, no one really knows. A lot of ideas and a lot of tests are happening but so far no definite answer. The most common answer is that I will grow out of it in my mid twenties because that is when you start to stiffen, really looking forward to five to nine more years of pain (/s).

BTW, The Incident with the dog in the nighttime is a bad book and sad stereotypical representation. The awful thing is that when I was researching different disabilities autism was the last one I looked up just because most of my understanding came from bad representation in media such as the Incident.