The feeling of defiance

The feeling of defiance
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Text and photographs by
Sigrid Thorbjørnsen
Translated and edited by
Michael Holtermann and Kenneth Kiesnoski 

Do you know the feeling of defiance? The feeling that pops up when you sit inside, warm by the fire and cozy under a blanket. And then, suddenly, you just have to get outside. Out in the weather. Bad weather. Wind. Rain. Snow. Elements that will fight you, have their way with you. And yet, you still feel you must.

And when you have gotten dressed and are standing outside, you just wish you were back inside again. But then this weird feeling of defiance pops up, this “Hell, no-matter-the-weather-whatever-the-weather-I-will-manage” feeling. This feeling I have known, a number of times.

A storm had approached the coast of Norway. Or, rather, it was grazing the southern coast. The wind was strong and the tidal surge assaulted the shore. The tempest hadn’t quite fully hit, but it was forceful nonetheless. I was not so defiant that I thought to brave the maelstrom… just yet.

The next day, the wind is still strong but the sun has broken through. So the boots come on, the scarf goes around my neck, and the camera is in hand. The destination is Lindesnes, its lighthouse, and the waves. The goal, not a life-and-death struggle for existence, but to simply feel the weather and salty sea spray in my hair.

The wind at Lindesnes is noisy. I cannot hear myself think. It thunders in my ears and my mind goes blank. I just feel. The clouds hang threateningly, but then disappear, giving me some sun, then snatching the rays away again, serving hail, rain, and huge waves at high speed instead. Aching body. Violent nature and intense light. But this is what I want. I will not give up. If the wind knocks me down, I will stand up again. I will prevail. Defiance takes over. No way I am going back to the couch and the blanket right now. Just steel my nerve, bend into the wind and face it head on. I’m soon numbed by wind and cold but I want my pictures – the pictures I see.

Suddenly it’s all over. I have my pictures. Inside my car, it becomes possible to think again. Thinking that this could have gone wrong, had I been a little more daring. But I hadn’t and the worst did not happen. I live the life I love, and I love the life I live.


And like Muddy Waters sings:

I see you watching me just like a hawk
I do not mind the way you talk
But if you touch me something’s got to give
I live the life I love
And I love the life I live.”

This, I know:

The risk is mine.
The defeat is mine.
The victory is mine.
The defiance, is mine.


Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~ Maria Robinson


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