I CHOOSE ME

“People which decided simply to live their truth, even when doing so wasn’t simple.”
—Cheryl Strayed, “Tiny Beautiful Things”

My current writing process, looks a hella of a lot more like a marathon therapy session than anything else. Fun? Absolutely not. In fucking fact, it’s hard as hell. Usually it goes something like this. Every morning I wake up, take a shower. I then proceed to drink my coffee, while I read whichever book I am tearing into at the moment. Then spend half an hour on Headspace guided meditation, after which I sit down to write. Each session falls somewhere between half an hour, to an hour.
No, it sure as hell isn’t fun that fuels the engine. It is the necessity of getting it out of the way, so that I can move on to what it is that I really have to write. It is getting to the good shit. If I don’t ‘write it out’, I may never be able to get out of my own way, and deliver what I’m meant to, what I know that I got inside of me. Therefore the show goes on. Most day of the week is set up like this, because I have every intention of getting over this phase, as fast as the universe allows me to.

The rest of my focus are spend in the gym. Currently my coach predicts my training 3 weeks at a time. Honestly this kind of makes everything worse. That’s just the truth. I enjoy and get my release by lifting very heavy objects. So at this point submitting myself to the program that will ultimately produce the best long term results and hypertrophy on a bodybuilding stage, is in ways suffocating me. Most of the time I feel one of tree ways: 1. like smashing objects, 2. crying or 3. screaming into the face of vulnerable baby animals.

I don’t lift heavy to shape body in a certain way (at least I don’t anymore.) I used to do endless amounts of ‘accessory’ work to ensure that I was getting the full effect.
I stopped doing that when I realized that lifting heavy and constantly pushing myself beyond borders, was where I found the flow and peace that I had unknowingly been seeking my entire life.
It took a while to accept these truth or even understand it. In the moment I don’t think I knew just how much lifting meant to me. How much ‘me’ it was to be in the safe environment of the weights. When I switched to a new gym in ‘16, I also found my tribe. A group of people who understood what it felt like to be this kind of ‘different’.

The world doesn’t really understand it. It takes one look at girls with muscles and gets slightly unsettled. Voicing a cocktail of self-doubt and social ideals. It doesn’t know how to handle what is cultural unnatural. It might look fondly with approval on the round butt-cheeks, that our leg-training provides, but as soon as vascularity and upper body strength is mentioned, you’ll be told to be careful not to get too big. If in any case your looks should precede a muscularity of what is considered borderline acceptable, you’ll get a look like you have just insulted their mother or smacked a puppy. Girls aren’t suppose to be THAT strong. We should be fragile, petite and waiting to be saved from evil, evil dragons. ((Hah.))

The way I see it, there is just one problem in this scenario: My own, personal way of perceiving these opinions. These opinions have the least to do with me and my life choices. You make a strong statement or lifestyle choice and sure as shit Sherlock, people are going to bark. I think you’d would be surprised if I told how often I encounter critique about my looks and my weight. It is daily. I wouldn’t be lying if I estimated that my weight is debated among my peers, between 4 and 6 times a week. When I made the decision to start training heavy, it apparently also meant that I signed some invincible contract, making my personal life publicly debatable and appropriate to discuss at any given time. 
It was fucking weird getting used to, but for my own sake I had to get over it real fast.

I understand that this way of training, eating and living is strange, different and at times hard to understand. It isn’t the ideal way to live for most, and it isn’t something that most would desire in a million years. But living in this way, choosing this as my world, is my truth. To deny myself living this way, would ultimately be denying myself. Regardless of what others might be voicing as right or wrong, I have by choosing to refuse ‘the norm of ideals’, chosen me. I have decided to live my truth. Even when it isn’t simple. Even if it isn’t agreeable for most. Even if it means swimming against the stream.

This is what training is to me. Not an addition to living, but life itself. My survival. It isn’t me trying to optimize my body or change the way I look. It is my flow. The love I feel, when my heart starts pounding and how I came to find myself in ways I’d never imagined possible. When things got heavy.

Freja Blay,
26th of July, 2017.
Aarhus, Denmark.

Auschwitz-Birkenau: My experience at a Death-Camp.

“Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.”
Viktor Frankl. “Man’s Search for Meaning.’


Note to reader: This is my personal experience at the German Concentration Camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau located in Oświęcim, Poland. An hour and a half’s drive from Krakow. (the country’s third largest city). My visit there is solely based on personal understanding and reflections. All opinions are grounded in my own experience at the death-camp. This post is not up for discussion nor disagreement. It is a very sensitive matter for me, as well as many others affected by this tragedy. If you are of another opinion, than my experience I only ask you respectably take it elsewhere, where such matters are more appropriate.

I woke up Tuesday morning. The weather had dropped from 68°F (20°C) the day before, to just above 50°F (10°C) over night. It was raining and grey outside. It wasn’t the sunshine and lovely temperatures that had met me upon my arrival, just days before. 
However, this was appropriate weather for visiting the concentration camps. I felt as if sadness and mourning literally hung in the air.

What happened in Oświęcim, Poland was one of the greatest tragedies in human history. This is undoubtable. This is what you should expect encountering if you decide to tour the Auschwitz death camps. Nothing less. This isn’t a museum, it’s a place where many suffered and were murdered. To this day, people nationwide still mourn this location and occurrence.

My visit to the memorial grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau didn’t hit me till later. When I was there I felt prepared and well-informed by Victor Frankl’s memoir, experience and suffering. In the days up to my departure for Krakow, I read his memoir ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. Victor was a Jewish holocaust survivor. He was held prisoner for three years in the German concentration camps, Auschwitz I and Birkenau II, included. So, I knew what I was getting myself into, before I even got on an airplane to Poland. I wasn’t chasing after this place, as a historic interest, I think that would be very disrespectful. For good reasons. The despair rooted in the place, is suffocating and unbearable at best.

It is seventy-four years since Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated, at the end of WWII. The polish government decided in the years following, to keep the two concentration camps intact as museum, memorial and as reminder of the past. It stands today, as it did seventy-four years ago. Auschwitz-Birkenau is the one of most well-preserved pieces of history, we have left from the war.


6 of these cans of gas was used to kill 2.000 victims at once.

Some of the camp were destroyed immediately after liberation. Four out of five gas-chambers were destroyed. Most war-pictures were burned or buried by the German government. Most is still left in good conditions and the remains of the death-camp is plenty horrifying to bring ever visiting soul to tears. 
There were rooms filled with shoes. Millions of pairs of shoes. Suitcases and belongings taken from war-victims, before they were sent directly to the gas-chambers and killed. Mothers and children, the weaker and unsuitable. 90% of all who entered the camp, was sent directly to be gassed upon arrival. The only Jewish children whom survived the gas chambers where the twins. They were subject of interest. The Germans preformed ’medical experiments’ on them, before they also were sent to be executed.
There were a rooms full of human hair. Tons and TONS of human hair. Some of it were carefully braided. Then it was cut off and collected, to make fabric for war uniforms for the Germans. This happened to every single arrival at the Nazi Camp. It was a very horrible sight, to say the least.


One of the destroyed gas-chambers at Birkenau II.

The most excruciating part of the experience, is knowing that well-over a million people were murdered in that exact location. Birkenau II is the latter portion of the camp build. It’s over twenty times bigger than the original Auschwitz I. They build it because Auschwitz I, just wasn’t big enough to hold and kill the war slaves. They needed bigger gas-chambers. The new gas-chambers they build in Birkenau II, could kill an estimated two-thousand people at once. They build four. These chambers were hardly ever empty. 
The ashes of the people killed where spread on the camp grounds, where they died. When you walk the grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau, you walk directly on graves of over a million innocent victims of the Second World War. After liberation the whole place was basically human ashes.


The sorrow and memorial goes on to this day.

The feeling of despair and sorrow lived on the camp-grounds. This was also the feeling that stayed with me hours and days, after our tour was over. I felt cool and collected on the tour, but the aftermath of the shock lingered. These are things, that you can expect from a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. The polish still deeply mourns these grounds. I even encountered some, whom had never visited. The pain and the memory of the past had already made a permanent mark on their souls. They didn’t want to go. They didn’t need to.


If you are looking for a video footage of a visit to the campgrounds, I can highly recommend this one by Heidi Somers.  

I went to the camp with questions. Lots of questions. Questions of suffering. Questions about meaning. I came out of the experience broken, tearful and safe to say; with more questions than before I went in. I was not a pleasant experience, but I do believe that it was an extremely essential one. One that will help shape and form my perception on human life, mercy and love from now on. Yes, I came out of the experience with more questions than ever before. But these are new questions: Questions every human needs to ask themselves at one point or another. I also came out of the experience with a deeper appreciation for life. I came out of the experience with a deeper love for myself. The camps proved one thing to me: Every human being deserves love. We mourn over a million, whom were unrightfully murdered in cold blood. Yet most of us don’t know a single one of their souls, or have any personal connection to the history of the place. This is what binds us together as a human race. The love we have for one another. This gives me reason to forgive. Forgive those around me. Forgive myself. Ultimately learn to love. Because if thousands can love the unknown, I can love what is known. When I start to love myself, I can start to genuinely love you.

Freja Blay.
Frankfurt, Germany
13th of April 2017.

Krakow, a city build in sorrow.

‘It is so hard to leave — until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.’
John Green, Paper Towns.


The first thing I saw flying into Poland, was the formations of what was left after the communist movement of Stalin. Krakow is every emotion; it is beautiful, old, historic, proud and it easily tops as one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. It is a boiling pot of the old: Castles, churches and ruins and on the other hand it is also a mix of what is left from industrial communism. Broken buildings. Houses that are falling apart. Apartments build with cheaper solution materials, in the midst of WW2. Beautiful historic buildings with broken in windows, left for death, because nobody has the resources or means to care for them any longer. These are things whom speaks poverty and sorrow, which gives Krakow a strange but unique identity. It tells a story, not grounded in suffering alone, but also in victory and survival. The roads are so very dusty, but are fairly empty for trash and littering. The generation older than thirty are very difficult to communicate with, but are mostly friendly and seem like they want to be helpful, despite the language barrier.

I like it a lot here. The food is very nice, lots of sauerkraut and sausages, and the eggs taste absolutely amazing, (I don’t know why, they are so flavorful. I have eaten SO many eggs since I got here.) The weather have been on my side: amazing. I swear it was like the most perfect summer weather yesterday. I must have waked around between five and six hours, just taking in the city and trying to navigate.

I can’t believe that I brought myself here. Honestly it a mental border I didn’t imagine myself crossing. That’s the thought that keeps returning to my mind. I’m really proud of myself. Proud for making a leap. Proud for having courage. Proud for making it work, even when everything seems to be a chaotic mess. I guess I owe some of the honer to Tim Ferriss, for writing the 4-hour Work Week, and inspiring me to break my mental matrix. Allowing me to put my excuses to rest and leave my fears in a Danish forest. Because ‘Who Says’ I can’t? Maybe, next year I will actually plan a trip to Japan and go? Thanks, John.

Here’s the truth; staying in the same place too long, is, and have been, very unhealthy for me. What happens is that I get stuck in the same routines, which has a tendency of being a tad on the the obsessive compulsive side of what is good. I do the same things day in, and day out. Why? Simply because it’s comfortable and safe. It is however not healthy. Not for my perspective. Not for my perception, and not for my spiritual life. It can be very hard to recognize these truths, when I am stuck in the midst of it all.

So, I am here. Krakow. To see. To feel; Both myself and something besides myself. To get over myself. To meet myself, and to meet something besides myself.


Partly this trip is meant to take the air out of some of my obsessive behaviors. They have grown so effortlessly. Lost in the months spend in my everyday slumber. Nothing takes the air out of the compulsive sails, like being thrown into a foreign setting. Nothing here is like it usually is at home. In Krakow it is not possible to do what I usually do. Away from my daily routine, I become strictly aware of these nasty habits, I’ve gathered around me like naughty little ducklings.

SHORT HONEST LIST OF MY DARK DUCKS :
(a.) artificial sweeteners (which I have a mayor suspicion really fucks with my hormones)
(b.) my necessity to be in the gym, for at least two hours every day.
(c.) My general oversensitivity to smells and the smell of cigarettes, in the strange apartment I’m staying at.
(d.) General controlling eating habits and my compulsion to wanna check macros (fat, protein, carbs) on everything I’m eating. Here, I am unable to check things, which gives me a chance to ACTUALLY learn to be fucking flexible. I’m not, but in Krakow, I get to grind it out and learn to be. And it’s great for me. (Not really a total pleasure, but a really good for both my body and for my mental health.)


In short I’m forced to loosen up my grid, give up control and go with the flow. Be carried on the winds of Krakow. Altogether, this is really great for me. So if you want ‘change’, just go ahead and relocate your ass somewhere foreign, because shit will for sure hit the fan, and there is no choice but to laugh and find the silver lining.

So when I find myself in a strange apartment in Krakow, Poland, which kinda smells like smoke and everything is unfamiliar and I can’t even translate the food label to know how much protein I’m getting, it’s still OKAY. Because it’s an adventure. And I’m in love with the learning. And the living. And the loving myself, kindly and with a laugh, when things go south. Without it I wouldn’t last.
Okay? Okay!

Freja Blay.
Krakow, Poland.
11th of April 2017.

Next up: Krakow

‘I wanna go somewhere where nobody knows
I wanna know somewhere where nobody goes’
-Miranda Lambert, Highway Vagabond.


[Krakow, Poland]

About a year ago, I was chatting to my, at the time, hardcore gym-crush. Together were contemplating travel locations & places that we wanted to visit before we died. We had this common ground of desiring historic or strange travel-destinations. These places were basically anything but a beach in Spain, or a shopping trip to New York. 
I stated that I’d been wanting to see
(1.) The Harry Potter Museum in England. (Seriously; look it up and steal my idea. It looks so bomb.) I still have in mind to find a partner in crime and/or just go sometime within the nearest as possible future.


[the Harry Potter Museum in England]

(2.) I really wanted to see the Auschwitz Concentrations Camps, I and II, in Poland. (At the time I actually thought Auschwitz was located in Germany. Geography has never been my strong suit. At least I found this out, before I bought the tickets ‘eh?)

It is safe to say that my desire to visit and see the Concentration Camps in Poland, lasted a lot longer than my crush on gym-boy. Tomorrow I am leaving for five days to vacation in Krakow, Poland. 
My thought is, that a visit to a place like Auschwitz is something very essential to the human spirit. Combined with a good six years of existential crisis and lots (and lots) of time, in my own company. My hope is that this place will bring some reflection, to my own experience with suffering and bring some understanding to life as a whole. So I guess going this is kind of an existential crisis, within an existential crisis.

I want to see and get a feeling of what legends, like Victor Frankl, lived through. I’d like to encounter what is possible to survive as a human being. It is my wish to contact some humility and love inside myself for others. It’s a bit difficult to say exactly what I am chasing on this journey. I just know that this is the way, I am supposed to walk. Kind of like writing, art and music. I am not moving: I am being moved. It’s a beautiful thing, really.


This is a trip for a lot of reasons.

It’s a big deal for me to be going alone. I haven’t traveled much since I relocated back to Europe in ’11. So this is kinda scary.  I dramatically imagine it going one of two ways: The first is being abducted by the polish, whom I’ll never learn to fully understand nor speak to. The second, is that they make me their queen. Here the lack of communication this still come into play. I’ll forever have to settle for being unable to speak to anybody, ever again. Someone was kind enough to point out that Poland wasn’t a kingdom, which leaves me back at option one.

I’ll  be leaving a complete and lovely review on my blog of Poland’s amazing attractions, and of cause my experience at the Concentration Camps.
I’m sure it’ll be okay. Okay.

Freja Blay
Aarhus, Denmark.
8th of April 2017.

Grinding it Out

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Yesterday. Yesterday just so happened to be one of those days, where peace finally set in after another storm. That’s a metaphorical storm and in my opinion, the worst kind. The state of rollercoaster sadness and heartaching despair is awful. 
I have these days, quite too many if you ask me, where life is barely sustainable. Times like these, where it becomes a task to just get through my daily grind and functioning to a reasonably normal standard in society is a challenge itself.

Hold fast to me here; I’m not going down some self-pity train of destruction, or taking an ego trip. Stay with me.

I think it’s quite common to strike periods where the grind gets tougher and shit hits the fan. It’s quite normal to have rough days (maybe not as many as my OCD laden self, but still.) You don’t get used to pain, but there are ways to cope, when the lightning strikes.
Let me just say, I do not consider myself even remotely graceful in suffering or painful situations of life, but I am still here and that means I survived life this far. I think of myself sort of like an elephant in a glasshouse, which to my astonishment and wonder aren’t breaking.

There are tools to get through times, despite things that actually include directly running in the opposite direction of  the pain. I don’t try and run away from the painful states because (1.) It’s not durable, and (2.) even if it works shortly, it is just that: Temporary. Non-sustainable. (Like using alcohol or drugs to dull the pain.) 
I don’t run from fear, unless maybe at the exception of a lion, or something that will be of immediate danger to my existence.

The only thing I’ve found of long time sustainability is persistence and grinding it out. I know that ain’t the sexy answer, most would like to hear, but I have found that regardless of the situation, the suffering or pain never lasts forever. Though it may seem that way at times, everything comes to an end. Pain, happiness and even life itself at some point. (Another unsexy truth. I’m on a roll here.)
The second tool that I’ve found useful is continuing my daily routines, such as school, work and going to the gym to train, follow my mealplan etc. If this is possible, it is the best way to cope.
It isn’t good for me to give into suffering, I need to get out and get on with life. If I can pull off going to school, the gym and so on, there is a chance that I will survive yet another day, with my mind ‘sort of intact’. My life is most often better, after I have created meaning outside of myself and put in a decent amount of ‘Doing.’  It may still not be great or optimal, but most often it is better than I woke up crying and not wanting to get out of my apartment.

Too much time to think, will be potentially poisonous in the midst of a mental meltdown. Getting out (literally moving my ass, from point A. to point B.) and talking to other humans, is by far the best emergency plan I’ve come up with. The worst decisions are made without consulting others and letting my fears grow into monsters.

Yesterday. Yesterday was the first warm day, leading into summer. It was lovely and awesome. These thoughts are floating around inside of my being, not because I am sad in this instant. No, because I’ve just gone through yet another rough path. Everything seemed to be going to hell (but didn’t) once again, for no apparent reason. It is like losing a job or breaking a leg, like my whole world is collapsing, without evidence of reason. It sucks.

But now, it is better and lighter and lovelier outside, and I’m grateful for that. I am grateful to have this life, despite it’s challenges. It is a good life.
If you are looking for something to read, I can recommend ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl. It puts suffering and pain in perspective and gives reason, or at least reflection to pain, loss and prosperity. It’s a book that I’m currently working though, since I’m going to Poland in the beginning of next month, with the sole purpose of visiting the Auschwitz concentration camps.

More on that later!

Thanks for reading,

Freja Blay. Aarhus, Denmark.
24th of March 2017.