Shame, Stockholm. Apr 1, 2023

Mar 28, 2023

I struggle. Big time.


Here, in Sweden, I feel like it I am shutting down. From a person who is naturally very open and communicative, I turn into someone isolated and closed. I don’t like it and, I don’t know how to stop it. I don’t want to go out. I don’t even want to leave my tiny apartment. I don’t want to wake up in the morning. I don’t like it here.

I made myself very depressed by denying my real feelings, and opinions about this new environment and people in it. I put my emotions up to my ass because they are not serving me in my situation. They will get me in trouble if I let them outside of my head. Certainly, locals do not want to hear anything rather than amazement and all the beautiful things about Sweden. I was contemplating writing this piece for several months, hoping that things will get better, and I will adjust. This is not my first rodeo. I moved many times before. However, this move is particularly difficult. I was avoiding writing my thoughts out, because I knew how much emotional labour it will take to get them out. I am shaking as I start writing this. Fear? Fear to get overwhelmed by emotions. Anger? I feel a blood just rush in my ankles.

Just for reference, I’ve moved to Stockholm only three months ago.

Moving to Sweden and going through “this” helped me realize how much of Shape I am carrying on my shoulders. I feel the pain of not being one of them, not fitting in. How much of a burden I was carrying up until now…. Blaming myself for being less than God, less than perfect. I used to say that I didn’t care what people thought and said about me — that was the biggest lie. My face still turns red if I do or say something slightly out of line. I care whether people like me or not. I care about being accepted into community or a group of people that I interact with. And, whenever I don’t get the approval from my peers – I blame myself. I should’ve done or said things differently. I am not good enough. I am the problem. I am bad.

In the new culture, I am learning quickly how to dress, speak and act, to be liked and accepted. I learn what topics to avoid to not make anyone feel uncomfortable. How much of my Self is left? What am I willing to pay to free up myself? It is going to cost me a fortune, I know.

It is very good for me to be an alien, here, in this confusing country. Shame comes up so often and obvious that I cannot pretend that I don’t see it. Shame is hurting me, trying to fit me into the narrative of this Swedish show. How much of my Self is going to be left by the time I adjust myself completely? How far away am I going to push my real Self, so it doesn’t stand out? Deny your feelings. You should not feel that way. It is not good to think what you think. Be nice. Be kind. Be polite. Be approachable. Make everyone like you. Be a good boy.        

I want to be free from shame. I want to be free.

I wish that no one ever could put their shaming looks on me. Keep this toxic crap you yourself. I refuse to accept it. I am confident in myself. I am faithful in God. I am my only judge. I want to be in tune with what I feel and think and accept it without feeling ashamed of my Self.

I am surrounded by people, but so lonely, as I haven’t been in a while.

I have a chip on my shoulder — I was never enough in my life. I am an unloved child of my parents. I have never felt “at home”. I wanted to run away from my parent’s house as a kid. And I did. Whenever my parents went into their daily ritual of fighting, I would leave my home and go walk down the railroad near my home. Nobody was there, just me. I did not want to go back home, however I did, because I didn’t have anywhere else to go.

I struggle to connect with local people here. Their lives are so comfortable and stable. I am at my best in crisis. I work, think, train… always go-go-go. I am ashamed of this side of me, because I feel that there is something wrong with me. Others spend weekends going to the parties, wine tasking, coffee shops with friends, families, kids, skiing, home renovations etc. I don’t have any interest in those activities. I feel ashamed of it. Perhaps there is something fundamentally wrong with me and am numbing, distracting myself from it. Perhaps, I am running away from something. Forever running. Can’t settle. Can’t find someone to love. Perhaps I am too self-centred. An Egoist, as my grandmother used to label me. There are some people who are easy to love. They are pleasure to be around. I am not. I am too much. Too serious. Perhaps, not lovable. What kind of family can I create with all the issues that I have in my head? What kind of child can I raise? What will I pass onto him or her? Damn, it is better that other people create families and raise kids.

Swedes are very proud of their work-life balance. I am having hard time separating my work from my life. My work IS my life. My sport IS my life. I am ashamed to admit it. Perhaps, because this is all I have – what is wrong with you man? I am ashamed of trying too hard. I must hold myself back from being too enthusiastic and too excited about something. There are so many things wrong with you, man.

Shame is flooding my system. I am drowning in it. I feel that I am wrong. I am defective. Breathe… OMG it is a very heavy feeling. I can feel it now.

I will be an old man. Sick, fat, and ugly. Never married. Never had children. Sharing my life with my dog. Work, work, work. At some point, soon, I will stop improving in sport. Other guys, younger generation will come and shine. I am not proud of this picture, and I feel a lot of shame. I am a failure.

Ever since I was a child, I was never enough to anyone. My father would always criticise. My mother never said that she loved me. F*cking never. Never did I hear that they were proud of me. The only times when I received feedback, was when there was something wrong with me. An absence of punishment I considered as a praise. Great! Isn’t it? I feel ashamed to admit that I was raised in an abusive, violent, and very dysfunctional family. Nothing good can come out of such an environment — I am no good. Just give me enough time, and I will inevitably disappoint you.

I was always compared to my cousins — there was always something fucked up about me and my little brother. Exactly in the same way as my mother was among two of her sisters. She was hurt by it carried a lot of shame that she surely passed onto me and my brother. She would always complain how others looked down on our family. I learned early in my life that there is something different about me and our family. There was something wrong about the ways I looked, walked and talked. We did not belong. We always were victimised. We were the ones to blame.

After my parent’s divorce, I heard many times that people said being my back that I am just like my father. As inadequate and fucked up as he. There is something wrong about me. “Stay away from Sasha, because, do you know who is his father?” On the question Who? — they can never say anything in return, however there is something very bad and wrong about my father and me as his son.

I lived my entire life trying to please others and prove that I am worthy to be loved. I never realised my differences. I would squeeze myself into whatever I need to fit in. I never learned to accept my feelings and emotions. We never talked about feelings in my family. Would would only complain. I was not comfortable at home. I was not comfortable in my body. Feel the right feelings. Say the right words. Do the right things.

I am drowning in shame. My lifestyle is different. My motivations are different. What you are talking about is a complete nonsense, plain stupid and a waste of my time. I don’t allow myself to think these thoughts. Instead, I try to understand what is wrong with me. Give up trying. You are just fucked up, that’s why you don’t fit. That’s why you struggle to connect with people. You always over analyse. You are too serious. No fun to be around.

I have a chip on my shoulder, and I am doing a great job of hiding it to fitting in.

My life is different, and I understand that in many ways it may be limited, deprived. I might be missing out on many things that other people have or do. At the end, I might regret of choosing this path. I might feel sorry for myself for not being born in a loving family. I might feel sorry for myself for not having children of my own and not creating a family. I might regret for spending my life the way I did.

I feel shame for being single.
I feel shame for training so much.
I feel ashamed for living in this shoe box.
I feel ashamed to have very different opinions about work.
I feel ashamed for not speaking the language. I am an immigrant.
I feel ashamed of feeling all this. Ashamed of struggling and being weak.

I feel like it I am shutting down. I am turning into one of them and I don’t want to be that. Shame is showing me my differences. I am grateful; however I also don’t want to wake up in the morning.