I seem to be a fundamentally discontent person.

Or is it that the winter sky always has me dreaming of something different? The world being covered in that white, heavy blanket and nature laying dormant, silenced under it all, gives rise to my discontent?

Because in the Scandinavian summer, I have very few complaints and am satisfied to just live my life.

But not in winter. In winter, I look at the sky and think about all the things I don’t have or don’t do right now.

I want to be somewhere warmer but not hot. I want to have an alpaca farm with horses, too. I want my hair to be different. I want my dégagé to be stronger, my arabesque higher. I want to get that dragon sleeve. I want to have a bigger back catalogue of stories already. I want, I want, I want…

There is something unique about the winter sky. The light becomes cold and all the colours at sub-zero temperatures seem to exist on the pastel spectrum. It’s one of the few things I enjoy about winter.

But truly, I think being a malcontent has its roots in being a reader.

Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.

– Neil Gaiman, Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

Going from kid’s stories into fantasy & sci-fi was such a natural progression. And I was ravenous.

When at fourteen I wanted to read LOTR in English, my mother refused to buy me the book in English because she was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to read it through. So, I acquiesced and didn’t read it in English until I was in my early 20s – turns out it was easier to read in English than in a small language from the Uralic branch.

Ah, et bien, peut importe, pas grave…🤷‍♀️

My point is, being a highly introverted empath, going on imaginary adventures where there were no limits was like second nature to me. The roots of my escapism, which later expanded to movies, documentaries, just about any kind of storytelling, and eventually, the stage.

And I know, they bandy escapism about as if it’s a bad thing. “As if ‘escapist’ fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in,” as Gaiman puts it.

It isn’t, as I’ve said before. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing how to survive reality without fantasy.

And despite reading being the source of a lot (not all) of my discontent, it’s also that discontent that has been a driving force in my life. I went into a career, moved to another country, got married to a virtual stranger from another country and culture, and decided to pursue a career that gives me true joy all because of that discontent.

It keeps me constantly moving, keeps me on my toes. Reminds me that there’s more work to be done. More experiences waiting for me out there somewhere.

I just have to get off my ass and go find them.