I’ve got social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression and OCD. I don’t write about this as though I’m happy about it. Quite the opposite.
Being an American that is often seen as quiet and shy is not very well welcomed in this culture. I get snarky rude comments, ignorant questions, embarrassing moments, and flat out uncomfortable times. I feel I am supposed to be this outgoing loud person. I am not like that at all. People seem to not know how to handle someone like me. Strange how we celebrate differences in America but my personality differences are not accepted.
Norwegians are reserved, blossoming socially when surrounded by family or friends for whom they are close with only. When my husbands family was warned I don’t do social events easily, I imagine they were surprised. Social events are different there. They are very chill and embarrassing shyness is brushed off as not so embarrassing at all.
I recall reading Moomin books and there are characters with particular things about their personality that made them different like needing everything clean or liking to be left alone. Norwegians as well as the rest of the North are taught to respect these things about someone’s personality- whether they are seen as peculiar or not.
Have you noticed this about Americans? Is my observation wrong?
My brother was first in falling in love for Norway when he was young. He started to like metal like Led Zeppelin. Then he explored Christian Black Metal like Extol, Lengsel, Antestor, Drottnar and Frosthardr. Later he discovered bands such as Darkthrone and Mayhem. The music he loved soon made him realize his love for Norway itself. He began to study Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic (he’s good at learning languages, period). He even learned to write and read runes called Futhark.
In the meantime, my passion began. I, however, started with a passion for Finland. I started reading Tove Jansson books on Moomins and The Kalevala despite the ongoing explosion of Finnish music in the United States due to Bam Margera. I started to like Finland for being “an oddball in the North” to not copy my brother. I soon discovered music after seeing “In the Shadows” by The Rasmus and “Join Me in Death” by HIM. My passion for Finland stated to grow thoughout high school. I did projects on them whenever possible and then I started to like other Scandinavian nations’ music such as Lykke Li, ABBA, Combichrist, Mercyful Fate, Leaves’ Eyes and Deathstars. I even started to claim I would one day revival Bam Margera in my love and would be the “Bam Margera-of-the-Viking-Nations,” becoming more and more obsessed by the day. I read everything I could about Finland, memorizing the details.
Wanting to learn all I could about Scandinavia, I soon realized what Anthropology and Sociology were: the study of cultures and societal make up. So what I did was actually a science! I discovered this during my studies at a local community college. I befriended my anthropology professor and was near certain I would continue my passion by studying the North professionally,
That didn’t quite happen.
I had a project to do for Sociology and I chose to do Norway religions. A friend at the time told me to message this boy from Norway that he knew in high school on facebook and I could interview him for this paper I had to do. That boy from Norway is now my husband.
It was NOT intentional. We knew each other for a couple years, messaging back and forth about everything and anything. Kim and I battled our emotions. We really thought we were crazy to think a relationship would work but it turned out just fine in the end. One day we admitted our feelings for each other, met in the United States, started to date and were married about a year later. Our passion for learning about different cultures and science is mutal. It was only a plus that he turned out to be Norwegian.
Now, he wants to go back to his homeland after 6 years in the United States.
None of this would have happened without my brother and black metal. In the end now, I took my brother’s original dream for myself.
So, Sal, thank you for being an inspiration for me and helping me to learn my passions.