(I wrote and edited this post over the last few days in Tafjord as well as after coming home so the timing and tenses might seem off)
There’s something special about this place. I think we’ve all felt it. Rare flowers grow here, rare bugs crawl here.
Been going here almost every summer since we were kids. Those times we spent here as kids were beautiful memories, almost magical memories, because the place has a feel to it. It’s one of the most beautiful places on the planet. And there’s something you just can’t describe. Something you just feel here. I always think of it as perpetually sunny and my sister said the same thing yesterday (her first time here in many, many years).
Part of the “Tafjord feeling” is:
You are a person separate from how you think of yourself when you’re in Bergen, a positive person with personality and potential
I believe in you
There’s goodness and meaning in the world
People are good
When I’m in Bergen, and elsewhere, everything’s just..uh. I should mention I’m terrible at writing these days, and get tired just thinking about having to explain things. Let’s try again-when I’m in Bergen (and elsewhere) I just get stuck in ways of thinking and things of thinking about, stuck in routine, stuck in a trance, stuck sleepwalking. I’m not conscious at all. And the years just fly by, time I’ll never get back, and they flew by because I wasn’t conscious so I just let them. And when I come here, I become conscious, I always think more clearly, break out of the routine and see the routine/zombie-state and my ways of thinking for what they are. I always have some epiphanies here. Just being here has a feel, a taste, and I see/feel this beauty, have these beautiful ideas, although sometimes sad ones. It has to do with my good childhood memories from here but also, I feel, something outside of that. Some energy the place has.
In Bergen, I can believe that we’re just physical processes in the brain, that we don’t have free will or selves, which is what i recently came to believe from reading about consciousness and finally learning that all these paranormal things I used to believe in were never proven, all psychics and mediums fail properly controlled tests and are proven frauds. None of them ever beat the million dollar challenge. No successful, repeatable parapsychological experiment ever happened, and not for a lack of trying. And all that brain science…so yeah, in dead Bergen, when I’m unconscious and nothing has value, I can believe that.
But here, I can’t. This place is real. These beautiful memories I have from here, memories that I’d forgotten, all this place is and feels like, it can’t be reduced to physical processes in the brain. Here, I’ve been someone, and I’ve had the promise of being someone richer than that, too.
I forgot those memories. The last few years I’ve thought of my life like I started existing in 2014, or 2015, or 2016. Not thought about anything before then. But, although I was a very different person in 2012 and backwards, so much so that I’m appalled at my own behaviour and things I wrote/thought between 2010-2014 and don’t think of him as me at all; I was still conscious! They’re still my memories. The good ones, at least.
This place always heals my mind to some degree. Without fail.
Every year as a kid, coming to Tafjord was magical, this beautiful hidden paradise that just beamed positive images and feelings into you. In 2005, the first or second year of being depressed because of bullying and a tense situation at home, I came to Tafjord, became less depressed and more of a person again,watched Bang Bang You’re Dead and had a catharsis from that, as well as beautiful ideas and a renewed faith in humanity. The next year I insisted on spending 4 weeks here instead of going abroad, because the place was so special to me. In 2012, after having been stuck in that damn school for so long, stuck in routine, not conscious, without hope or vision or personality, without being alive, I came to Tafjord and became alive again, remembered “me”, and I realized that someone in this world (one of my cousins who lived here at the time) still remembered the real me and thought of me as that person; the person I would be if I wasn’t stuck unconscious in that neverending routine without friends or anything alone and depressed, the person I hadn’t been for years and had never been for long at a time, the real me I was supposed to be. The older cousin I’d been friends with when we were kids was gone, I think, but this younger one still remembered a positive Øyvind with a full personality, and it made me feel like I still had the potential to be that person, while it also felt great to know I wasn’t completely invisible and unknown. Last year I had a couple of epiphanies as well, though I was stuck in deep depression from everything that changed when I left Denver and the hopeless situation I was in. It still happened, though not as strongly as it has other times. I had the idea and motivation to move to Oslo and a stronger faith in myself, as well as felt slightly more conscious, though was stuck in my head too much.
This year, I feel like I’m fully conscious here, for the first time in a long time. And in that state I realize I wasted all those years, all those years I could have broken free from the routine and became the “real Øyvind” that shone through in Tafjord as well as in hospital a couple of times in my mid teens. I’ve thought I’ll bring this new, healed, positive me back to Bergen and make friends and do things with my life. I realize I wasted all those years and I’m too old now. I’m no longer young. It’s too late. I never got to be young.
There’s also these ideas, images…I’ve always spent a lot of time in my head picturing tv shows, movies, books that I would never make/write. Or videogames, had a lot of fantasies about Kotor 3 and what it was going to look like, feel like. Stories about people meeting ghosts in the Star Wars universe, ghosts of people who’d been their enemies, and them talking/working it out. Bang Bang You’re Dead-inspired ones. When I was young, it was repeatedly Jurassic Park-inspired ideas, because I thought this place has a Jurassic Park feel, like Dinosaurs could live here, in these beautiful tree-covered mountains. And now, this scifi/supernatural drama tv show I thought of, and one scene where something really sad happens just after something really beautiful happens involving a group of characters who help one of theirs back to the world the way I wish someone would have helped me. Always with these beautiful, deep, heartfelt human interactions. It’s part of the feel of this place. It makes me think like that even when I can’t think like that. My imagination, things I imagine…it just happens here. I spend a lot of time thinking elsewhere, but not a lot of time imagining. My imagination is just boosted by this place, too. It installs this warmth, this beauty, these images, these feelings. These feelings involving people and deep interpersonal relations.
So many times since things got bad in my early teens, I’ve come here and found new hope. Even recent years, though not as much. Hope that I would get back to the world. That I would get my life in order. New faith in myself and my ability to fix my life, new faith in other people. This hope that I could get back to my life and live out my youth…it’s all too late now.
I got too old. Opportunities slipped away. I never got my life in order. I never made friends. I stayed alone and isolated and alienated from humanity, miserable in my own little world.
Even the cousin here who still knew/remembered the “real me” back then has now moved away and both of them are more adult than I’ve ever been. I don’t know how to talk to them anymore. I actually got short of breath just coming into their mother’s house (they’re visiting for the weekend), just talking to my sister in the oldest cousin’s presense. We were only there for like 20 minutes, ate some cake and bolted. I didn’t even say bye (we’re leaving tm) and that’s just a disgrace. That won’t do at all. That’s social anxiety taken too far. I still have to act like a frickin adult. It was like being a child again, those times I felt like “the other kids will reject me” and was too scared to talk to them. I think my sister understood how uncomfortable I was there (seemed to react a bit when I asked her something and had anxiety-like difficulty breathing while doing so) but we didn’t talk about it. Would have probably stayed longer if I wasn’t.
They’ve all moved away or moved on.
My youth is over. I turn 27 this October. I’m an adult. I never got to be young and even if I’m “brought back” to the world now, it will be as an adult, not a youth. I never got to live that out. I never got to live out the potential that the “real me” had. He never got to exist long enough to make friends. It never happened in time. I never got to be young, and I can’t have it back. It’s too late. I’m not ready to be an adult, because I never got to be young. It’s all lost. I wish I had so much more time.
Bergen is death. I go back there and the years and decades go by while I’m asleep in that routine, and then I come here to Tafjord and I “awake” and remember the past me and the me that was and could have been and was supposed to be, and I feel these feelings this place gives off, this realness, and I painfully realize how much time I’ve wasted and how I can’t get that time back and it’s too late now.
There’s nothing real in Bergen. It has no soul. It’s not alive, and I’m not alive there. I just cease to exist when I’m there. Tafjord is REAL. I was just looking at the trees and mountains and rocks, listening to the rivers and waterfalls, seeing how it hasn’t changed, feeling the unexplainable “Tafjord feeling” (which even affects my dreams when I’m here) and I was thinking about Bergen, and how they’re different universes. How fake Bergen is. Bergen is a dream and here I’m awake. Calling it a dream is wrong, though, my dreams are usually good. It’s a dream in that it doesn’t feel real, feels hazy, fake. Can’t even picture it. And I have to go back to that now. I have to leave Tafjord. I have to go back to the fake place with no soul where I can’t be alive and can’t remember, let alone be, the real me. Where I’ll just slip back into unconsciousness and my old ways of thinking and the same old things I think about, forgetting everything important because the feeling isn’t there, and the years will go by and I’ll be even older.
I should never have gone to the school I went to. I spent 7 years in that school, asleep in a routine. Had I gone to regular upper secondary school, I would either have graduated after 3 years or done some classes as a privatist. And I would have been socialized more. I would have had so much more time. I let myself be talked into going to that school and I was just content staying in that school forever, wasting all of those years, sleepwalking through them, unconscious in a meaningless routine, and I’ll never get that time back.
I’m going back now, and I can’t go back. Not to that meaningless hell where years and decades will pass. Not to that soulless, meaningless city where I can’t stay awake/alive. But it’s where I’m stuck. I’m stuck there. Stuck in that state. And less than once a year, Tafjord reminds me that my life wasn’t supposed to be like that, reminds me that I should be alive.
Now I’ve been back in Bergen for 6 days and it feels like 6 years. Can’t remember the feeling, what it was like to remember the good things, my good childhood there, can’t remember what it was like to be fully conscious.
I went hiking to Reindalsseter, and I was so alive for the entire hike, happy, the sun was shining and the nature was so uniquely Tafjord-vibrant. The river near the end of the hike is the cleanest, clearest water you’ll ever see, it doesn’t even translate into pictures, you have to see it with your own eyes, and it tastes as heavenly as it looks. Was connected to myself, to all of my life, pre-2014, for a change. All the sunny, innocent memories from here. Connected to nature. I don’t really remember what that was like now, either. It’s bizarre to think it’s just a few days ago.