May 10, 2011
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One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me was taking me out to jump in rain puddles. I have never been as close to giving up as I was at that point in my life and that particular day was one of the really bad ones. It was in summer and there had just been a thunderstorm. We were sitting on the couch in my small one bedroom apartment and I was having repeated attacks of panic anxiety followed by endless crying. And he said: “Come on, we’re going to go jump in the rain puddles.” At first I thought “no way, there’s just no way I can do that”, but for some reason I still let him take me outside.
He led my by the hand in that tender way you do with someone you know you need to take care of, someone small and fragile. And I don’t know if it was that or the fact that I hadn’t really jumped in any rain puddles in years, but I felt just like a little child again. Like that little child I once was. The good parts of being that little child. And I started laughing. We both did. Just like two five-year olds. It was in the evening and the sun was just setting, but it was still warm. We got soaking wet and people were staring but it didn’t matter, we just kept laughing and jumping. Read more of this post
April 15, 2011
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berlin street art - if you know who the artist is, let me know!
A couple of months ago I had a discussion about friendship versus family. In that discussion the argument was raised that family means more than friendship. That family is more solid, more reliable. I vehemently disagreed. Just like I always do when this topic comes up. Just like I do when the same topic comes up in the constellation friendship versus romantic love. I truly value friendship. In fact, it is quite possible the most important thing to me.
I don’t know if I have a lot of friends, I don’t know what constitutes normality in the number of friends you have, but I have a bunch of people in my life that I call friends. People who are dear to me, people I love. That’s how I define friendship, as a special kind of love. Essentially a friend is someone you forgive for being who they are. A love that is, in that sense, unconditional. It has nothing to do with demands and duties. Friendship just is. Of course you have expectations, but it’s only when those expectations get completely adjusted to the character of a person that friendship emerges. The expectations become realistic. That’s how the love is sustained. Loving exactly what you have and accepting what you can expect. Read more of this post
March 2, 2011
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A while ago someone asked me why I write. I have been asked that question many times. The simple answer is because I have to. If I don’t write I go insane. And as melodramatic as that sounds, it’s never the less true. I write to sort out my own head, to organize my thoughts. And that applies to anything I write, regardless of whether it’s fact or fiction. I do it to sort out my own head, to understand. This time that answer wasn’t really appropriate though, the situation called for a bit more discretion than saying it was for mental health reasons. So I had to loop it in my head one more time and when I did the other side of it became clear. I write because I believe that story telling can change the world. And that statement actually applies to the mental health aspect too. I want to understand and that’s why I write, that how my brain works. But the products of my efforts, the texts, those are just as much about getting other people to understand. By sharing what I think I hope to get other people to embrace the same thoughts, to see the same patterns. Because I really do want to change the world.
We live in an age and a culture where this ambition is somewhat frowned upon. It’s not really the hip thing to do. It’s too pretentious, too serious, not cynical enough. And at a first glance it may also seem to lack that essential element of immediate satisfaction that we seem to crave more than anything. But I don’t really have a choice. I have to keep on trying. And there is massive satisfaction in doing so. Immediate and long-term. Because it’s all about passion, about actually caring so much that you just can’t help yourself. Of course I write because I love it, I love words and I love stories, I always have. That’s one side of it. The other is the hope of actually making a difference. And I think that’s the two elements of passion: love and actually giving a shit. That’s why you do it, what ever it is you do. Read more of this post
February 21, 2011
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I’m sitting in the dark of a movie theatre, immersed in images, a depiction of a life lived in the century before this. Paintings, the talk of art and of life. Faded photographs mixed with images of paintings radiating with color. It’s a movie about Otto Modersohn, a German painter, made by his great-grandson*. A movie about his art, but just as much about his wives and their art. These women, their stories, they resound in me, touch me to the core of my being. Their desire, their longing, I can feel it. Their journal entries reach out from across the oceans of time and grab me. I am mesmerized. The past becomes alive. These women become alive.
His second wife, Paula Modersohn-Becker, a brilliant artist, more significant than her husband as the judgement of posterity would show. She wants to be free, she wants to live without the ties of a marriage, and he tries to meet her half-way. He let’s her go to Paris, let’s her leave their life behind. In 1906 that decision must have been more than radical, for both of them. But then he goes after her. Maybe it was a mutual agreement as stated in the movie, but when I hear the lines from her diary about her burning desire to be free and then the later realization that “she wasn’t made to stand alone” I can’t help but wonder. Was it resignation or maybe pity, or a combination of both, that made her ask him to come and join her? She gets pregnant and they leave Paris to go back home. She gives birth to a daughter and then passes away. What does that mean? I don’t know. But I know what it’s like to want to be free, to want to get rid of the emotional ties, the shackles of love that hold you prisoner in a life you don’t want to live. It hurts so bad. And sitting there in the movie theatre I can really feel her pain. The movie has me in a firm grip. I’m enchanted by all these stories, these women and their struggle to maintain the balance between society’s expectations and their own dreams. Read more of this post
January 6, 2011
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I have spent the past 5 hours reading. Not leisurely browsing various online articles or skimming through a magazine but reading. Passionately. The kind of reading where you all of a sudden realize that the room is completely dark apart from your reading lamp and that you desperately need to go to the bathroom and haven’t had a cigarette for hours. That kind of reading. As a child I used to do this all the time, but the older I get the less I do it. Time issues I suppose. When you are a kid you have more time to get devoured by books. Or if it’s the other way around, I am not sure. Probably both. I also think there’s an element of sin to it as you get older. Like it would somehow be a waste of time. You are neglecting not only your bodily functions, but also your other tasks and duties when you dive into a book for hours on end. But seriously, so what? Considering all the time that’s wasted on watching TV in this world it seems strange that getting sucked in by a book for a couple of hours should be a bad thing. Reading is almost never a waste of time. I say almost, because I have wasted a number of hours on books in my days. Not many, but there have been times when I have felt like writing to the publisher to demand a warning text on the cover of the book. But mostly it’s not a waste of time.
I’m not sure if this is true for everyone, but in my world there is nothing that can capture me as a book can. Nothing. When I watch movies either my thoughts will start to wander or I will start improving the plot in my mind. I will do this either by just thinking about how the story could get better, or I will really think that the story is better than it actually is and get all excited. That’s when my best friend will usually shake his head and tell me that “no you’re just making the story better again. It’s not that complex”. And he’s always right. It never is that complex. But the reason I’m doing this is because I am bored. Read more of this post
December 29, 2010
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There are some things that I will just never be able to understand. One of these is homophobia. I really and honestly do not understand it. And I am not talking about the various cultural and psychological reasons that are generally used to explain this phenomena, or abomination if we want to be a bit more precise, I get those. I understand what they are trying to get at when religion is brought into the picture and I understand what the whole threat to established gender identities theory is about. What I don’t understand is why anyone even cares in the first place. Why does it matter? How can it be that important what gender people are attracted to? Why on earth does anyone bother to care about that? Why is that particular preference given such a determining value?
I was reading a blog post by a mother whose son dressed up in a woman’s outfit for halloween and how that caused people to express a concern that he might grow up to be gay. Say what?! Apart from the fact that I really can’t see any issue what so ever with someone being gay, why would dressing up in women’s clothing make someone gay? How the hell would that causality work? It’s just beyond stupid. You don’t become gay, you are gay. Just like you are straight. Or bisexual. And gender identity has very little to do with that. A gay man is no less male than a straight man, just like a lesbian is no less female than a straight woman. Your gender or sexuality is not tied to your level of masculinity or femininity. But this line of reasoning does put focus on the problem of gender identity itself. Why is it so important that a boy sticks to the attributes assigned to his male gender? Why does him dressing up as a girl become such an issue? And why is the immediate fear that he’ll grow up to be gay? Why is the transcending of the gender roles perceived such a big threat even when it’s a 5-year-old boy doing it? Read more of this post
October 18, 2010
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Some moments in life are weirder than others. Moments that just seem overloaded with symbolism and meaning, stand out like technicolor in a black and white movie. Scenes that just get etched into your retina. Like little clips you can play in your head again and again until you’re almost not sure if they are true, if it really happened like that, because it all just seems so surreal. Almost. Because reality is always stranger than fiction. And a lot more cliché.
I had a moment like that. Years ago. And that moment has been haunting me from time to time ever since. A moment so surreal that it really felt like being in a movie. A moment that had me looking for hidden cameras. At the time I was having a ridiculously complicated affair with this guy, a musician. And we’re sitting on a bench, in Paris of all places, talking about what to do with the mess that is our affair. Read more of this post
January 13, 2010
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Being a writer words and language and books and the act of writing itself are of course a few of the things closes to my heart in this world. They are my weapons of choice so to speak. How I make sense of everything. But music is equally important. And in a way it fills a similar function. Music helps me get grounded. And by that I don’t mean that music keeps my mind settled in any way, it doesn’t tie me down, quite the opposite. Music liberates my thoughts and my emotions. It helps me through life. And as dramatic as that may sound, it’s actually true. I can give a list of albums that has been the soundtrack of my life for certain periods. Albums that I honestly think were instrumental in keeping what can arguably be referred to as my sanity. Without these records I really don’t know how I could have pulled through. And in some cases it took me years before I could listen to them again. I talked about this with a friend of mine, about how music can get so intimately connected and intertwined with your memories that you just can’t listen to certain records anymore. They are somehow tainted with the past. A past you don’t want to relive. He threw all those records away. He went into the woods and screaming at the top of his lungs he hurled them into the dark of the forest. I can fully understand this act. I can understand the cathartic effect of doing something like that. But I could never do it. Never. I need to keep all these tainted records. I need to have them with me. And it’s not because I want to dwell in the misery that they recreate, it’s because I am so immensely grateful to the people who made them. Their art guided me through a certain time in my life, helped me pull through to the other side, back to firm ground, so how could I ever throw that art away? I am not a religious person, but for me that would be blasphemy. And I also know that there will come a day when I can listen to that record without the pain. When I can once again really listen to the music and appreciate all those qualities that drew me to it in the first place. Because I still love these records. I just can’t listen to them. Read more of this post
January 12, 2010
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I know it’s easy to see synchronicities where there actually might not be any, but still. I was making a cup of tea and with this particular tea every teabag comes with some words of supposedly eastern wisdom. And even before I looked I just knew that today’s words of wisdom were going to be a slap in the face. And so it was: “The head has to bow to the heart.” Oh yeah fuck me. Because obviously that’s precisely what I have been obsessing about for the past days – why the heart just can’t seem to get with the program. Why the heart just refuses to listen to any type of logical arguments. And if I was a different person I might have seen this act of universal face slapping as a sign and settled in on the realization that “oh my god it is true” but seeing as I am in fact me, I saw it as an incitement to dig deeper. I almost always do. I just don’t buy it. “The head has to bow to the heart.” Bite me, that’s bullshit. Even the heart has to have a reason and a reason can be found out. A reason can be understood. And there is a reason for everything. The heart is no exception. Those alleged words of wisdom is just another way of saying that you shouldn’t think too much about some things. Read more of this post
January 8, 2010
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This whole life long monogamy thing, it’s a pretty new invention. This whole couples and romantic love thing. And I am wondering if it’s not just a way to keep us passive, occupied. A way to hold us back. We are fed with the dream of that perfect partner that will make your life complete. It’s all up to you to make it work. Love as the one salvation. The one and only thing that will make your life complete. The main theme of your life. And somehow it seems a bit like a hype. Unsubstantiated. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against love per se. I like I love. Love is a good thing. I love. It’s not about that. I just wonder if we may not have a very warped and twisted idea of what love actually is. This whole idea of romantic love. What does it actually mean? “And they lived happily ever after.” Did they? And just what the hell did they do while they were doing that? The two become one, and then what? And even more important, what happens before that? Is it all just about that one long search for the perfect partner? Is that the whole purpose? And what if you don’t find that perfect someone? What then? Does that mean you failed? Read more of this post