June 26, 2013

SALT WATER // #HOWDOWEKNOW



Sometimes, you meet someone and realize, that they are the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. You meet them when you are sixteen, nineteen, twenty-two, twenty-five, you meet them when you are twenty-six. You probably will meet them when you are thirty, or thirty-two. But every time you think, that this is it. And every time it is better, and more intense, and more happy. Until it ends. And it always ends. As humans, we take a while to realize, that it always ends, because time is just a thing. But, you can learn from pain, it's an effective way of learning. It helps us to compress and conceive our emotions in times of heartbreak.

When I was younger, my heartbreak usually resulted from me obsessing over finding true love based on the wrong things. Life is that way. You are thrown into holes over and over, you crawl out over and over, covered in regret and defeat, deprived of your dignity. But what can you do, other than start over and move on? The alternatives will leave you with nothing. So there you are, moving on… and moving on. It becomes such a natural process, and they say it gets easier with time. And they may be right. But I say, young love is important. Because we get a sense for idealism that only young love can formulate. And it fosters creativity like nothing else. It is, in my eyes, the onliest and most crucial experience that will determine how we will love for the rest of our lives.

At age 16, I felt for the first time, in my heart, the necessity of losing against life. On the hottest day in July, early morning, the person I loved stepped on a train, threw his backpack into the cabin, turned around and said "I am sorry. I just don't love you." I didn't run after the train. I didn't watch it disappear in the distance, to dwell on the fact that something I wanted so badly was getting further and further away from me. Instead, I sat down on the ground, until dark, and tried to figure out how I could ever move on from this. The void I entered was to become a part of my adult life. I should many times feel what I felt that day, and every single time it should become ever more demanding.

Ten years later, I am enduring a different kind of heartbreak, one that turns out to be the greatest challenge love ever presented me. Unsure if this will be the start, or the end of something, I go to bed shivering over uncertainty, then wake up shivering over uncertainty. When you meet someone, who you are compatible with to the extent where they are strong when you lose focus, and where you're strong when they lose faith, isn't that how it's supposed to be? That feeling, where the love from the other is so manifest, so nothing makes more sense, than for them to stay in your life.

Falling in love makes more sense than most things. It makes you laugh when you want to cry and cry when you want to laugh. Holding the other person and be safe, knowing you've finally found that arm to lie in, for the very rest of time. But soon you won't be able to hold the other person anymore, won't feel safe anymore, and the heartbreak becomes as real as the beauty, brought into being by two lonesome hearts. Reality is a toxic place for an idealist. The incapability to inhale, and that pressure on your chest -you know the deal - it becomes an everyday endeavor.

And then the day comes, that day where they will board a plane and fly across that loathsome body of saltwater. The ocean, again, shattering things like no other (I do prefer the Mediterranean or Baltic Sea, smaller water masses, they're less likely to turn against you). This is a recurring theme in my life, and perhaps I should become involved with time travel again. Time travel is essential in times of heartbreak, and we all know it. Let’s save that for another day.

The truth is, you merely move on. And you wonder if this, too, will pass, this heartbreak, and if it will take with it the beauty that was so apparent once, so essential. Because the beauty, that is so deeply inscribed in our memory, that made all this heartbreak somehow bearable, in the end, is what keeps us believing that it was worth it. It is what makes us fall in love again, knowing that heartbreak will follow sooner or later. 

But the beauty I felt wont fade, not this time. The bitterness, the kind that usually comes with heartbreak, is nonexistent.  And that’s when you smile, and when you know: There will be beauty, always. And it helps so much, to recognize, that the older we get, and the more we have to withstand, we can still feel so strongly about something, that has the potential to perhaps, in one short moment, take everything from us. But we have to take our chances. I am taking this one. 

Life is that way.



May 06, 2013

CIMITERO ACATTOLICO OF ROME

I visited this place with great expectations. Buried here are, amongst many other interesting people, John Keats and Percy Shelley, two of my very favorite Romantic poets and Englishmen. I think, that when I walked into the gates of the Protestant Cemetery, I already felt something strange, a slight breeze, my softly trembling heartbeat leading the way. I wrote a love letter to Keats and decided to bury it near his tomb stone, unable to be found by a stranger or caretaker, knowing that in another world he would be able to read it and affectionately reply. My good friend who walked with me through the grass and understood that we needed to rest on the bench across from Keats' grave for a good while, told me that I am 'seriously mad' (in a thick British accent, of course). We walked by the graves of Antonio Gramsci and August von Goethe, wondering what it would take for somebody to decide to bury us here, after we'd died. I knew I had more to explore, more to live and more to create before I could ever think about death the way Keats did when he was my age. I wondered what it would take for me to become known and appreciated, loved and welcomed the way I dreamed to be. My friend didn't take any pictures, he also didn't write any love letters. Why did I do this? Where does my motivation come from? More questions need to be answered. I still collect lip balm for a hobby.

There was no other place in Rome that made me feel this content and made me question my motivations at the same time, yet I knew that I couldn't return. Not before HE would have replied to my letter. But when the time will come, I will know. Somehow.





















April 20, 2013

WANDERING THROUGH EUROPE // PART 1


I am a cliché, but that's okay.

The past three weeks I spent in and around Rome and traveling through Tuscany. It wasn't a conscious decision I made, going to Rome, but perhaps the lifelong dream of one day having a villa near the Mediterranean Sea, writing endless songs about it, planning to build tree houses by the river and watching To Rome With Love or Roman Holiday played their respective parts. The moment I set foot on the train that took me from Fiumicino Airport to Termini station I started smiling, and I guess I didn't stop until the plane lifted off the runway three weeks later. During my first night, I walked up the Spanish Steps at midnight and made my way up to the Pincio, where I gazed over the city, purple skies behind the pines of Rome and the happiest tears making their way down my cheeks. Breathing in, tasting my own tears. I've come for a reason, I've come to discover beauty and peace, to become more balanced and find romance in solitude. 
I was in love with this city. I made it.

    
      Beauty is like remembrance, cast

        From Time long past.

                                                                  - P.B. Shelley 



It took a few days to figure out where I was, to realize that I had changed my habitat, that this was something completely new and undiscovered. I kept thinking about all the things that had happened in the past few months. I had finished 3 years of New York. I had moved away from Amsterdam. I made new memories, remember? I felt like writing, and figured that inspiration would be something not hard to find in a city like Rome. What I didn't foresee, was the impact that this inspiration would have on me.  

During my first week, friends of mine invited me to visit the city of Tivoli. It was a place that presented itself in strange ambivalence, yet once I started taking in the pretty things around me, I fell into a deep, irrelevant hole of nothingness. How did I get here? Gazing off the balconies of the Villa D'Este, I realized that I would no longer talk to people, neither would I share my impressions and instead walk behind my friends, so I could stop, ponder and take in more of the things that we passed. So many balconies, so many views. But why? Why do people come here? I wondered. My friends knew the history of the place, they read all the brochures and discussed the love life of Lucrezia Borgia during our train ride. I had to look out the train window, into the quaint mountains. They were clear and mighty up close, but intangible and blurry afar, blending in with the sky, softly. I felt like climbing one of them, to get to the top, to be blurry and soft and to blend in with heaven, to feel like heaven. 

Then I started to realize: I could only take in beauty, if I got rid of all abiding ill-emotions beforehand. Simple concept, hard to put into practice. Was I really this disconnected from myself? C., poised and calm, walked through the villa gardens with no worry, seemed at peace and content. I wanted what he had. In a hidden corner of the garden, we found an arched hole, with view over the Roman Campagna, and that's when I had my moment, perhaps. It was romantic, because life does that to you, it gives you chances, it gives you stuff to work with. There they were again, the mountains all blurry, and I started to feel empty no more. "This is beautiful!" I said. C. nodded, then ran to chase some of the stray cats through the garden.
I stood there for a while. Once that I had captured all the beauty, I immediately figured out a way to compress it and also how to filter out the best parts to keep. What a system, I thought. How come this never came to my mind before? -- The train ride home was full of energy. I had started to process this day in a way I never experienced anything before in my entire life. There was regret, for a moment; perhaps I had lived my life the wrong way until now. Never had I just sat there, really just sat there, and closed my eyes to listen to the sounds of a waterfall in the afternoon sun. 

We made amazing memories. 

tivoli


view


(All photos taken in Tivoli, Italy)

April 13, 2013

MAKING THINGS HAPPEN

Watching SHADOWS on a friday night. Lelia and Tony running through Central Park, arm in arm; I envy them and remember how well I fit under yours. These things happen. It made me smile, it gave meaning to this evening. I guess I had to capture it:

March 16, 2013

NEW MEMORIES // I DON'T KNOW WHY


Two stories, together and apart; working it both ways.


Pt. I

From the juvenile, coffee-tinted pages of the past & present; today he plays another part, back then he was a soldier. Never forget why you are young only for a certain amount of time. These days are always remembered. But sometimes you purposefully forget things. Because you've been burned. J. says that she is a teenager in her late twenties, I think perhaps I am just a pensioner with freshly colored red hair. So then I go and rummage through these pages I just told you about, and I find treasures and feelings that I've kept hidden for the longest time. I purposefully forgot. I decided it was time to face the demons. So I met the people who could help me remember.
Here I walk through the city alone and careful, there I slip, because my new boots are not made for all the ice on Berlin streets. A week full of new memories. I meet you. We just lie around and talk about the past. We just lie around and feel the comfort in knowing one another. We just lie around and know that these are the better days. We just lie around and have no regrets. Even after eight long years. Then alone on the streets again. My friends have grown up too. It didn't seem possible, but it's happening to everybody. I helped them remember too. I did. And we made new memories, my old friends and me. And then there are also new memories with new friends. There is not much to remember. But they must have been young once too. I wonder how they managed ten years ago, when I was just setting foot into the big city. Hello. I am a teenager and I want to belong. Do I belong now that I am 26? And maybe J. is right, and I am a teenager in my late twenties, still. Life is this cycle in which we keep acquiring memories, just so we can suppress them again afterwards. And then, years down the road, when we have made enough new memories and have forgotten all the old ones, purposefully, because of all the pain they caused, we meet with them again and remember that the fire that scarred us, when we were young, was a friend and helper.





Pt. II

I like your touch, I like it, but I don't know why. I like to grab your hand while it's in your pocket, and hold on to it when walking with you and I don't know why. We pass by places we've been before and I remember, but you don't and I don't know why. We go my way and not yours, because I know the way much better, and you kiss me in the snow, and I don't know why. I tell you my story and my secrets and about all the things I like and you are listening and I don't know why. I feel like you understand but then again I feel like you don't, and I don't know why. When we sit next to each other, I feel moths blindly and wildly roaming through my belly. There is no space for butterflies, and I don't know why. Your hair is soft and I don't know why. I wish I didn't know your name, and I don't know why. I want to disappear under the sheets and I don't know why. A five minute walk is no coincidence and most certainly not fate. I don't know why. You have a lot of secrets, and I don't know why. I started to listen to music again, and I don't know why, but likely it's because of you.



March 10, 2013

// TO LEARN FROM HAL HARTLEY


Life lessons to be learned from Hal Hartley's film 'TRUST' (1990), which is being re-released right now
The world needs to see this. Because Hal is a genius and nobody does it better.





March 03, 2013

LITTLE GIRL LOST, LITTLE GIRL FOUND

Sometimes, when jetlagged, lying in bed at 5 am on a sunday morning, reading William Blake under the blankets, cause that's what I do, I start to wonder about how to make songs out of all his poems...

 In the Age of Gold, 
 Free from winter's cold, 
 Youth and maiden bright 
 To the holy light, 
 Naked in the sunny beams delight. 

 Once a youthful pair, 
 Filled with softest care, 
 Met in the garden bright 
 Where the holy light 
 Had just removed the curtains of the night. 

 Tired with kisses sweet, 
 They agree to meet 
 When the silent sleep 
 Waves over heaven's deep, 
 And the weary tired wanderers weep."

(A Little Girl Lost) 

It's a song, indeed.

Back home, back where I started my journey a very long time ago, eight or nine years ago, I try to remember certain days where I made decisions that eventually changed my life. A very long time ago, for some strange reason, I walked into this book store and bought a book, and for probably the same reason, I am reading it right now.

Oh, this green little book, I've been carrying it around with me for 7 years, wherever I would go. I bought it at a tiny book store in Greenwich in London when I was 19. London was my home then. I didn't dare to touch the book. It stayed in my brown leather bag for a good while. From there it went with me to Berlin. The first time I opened the book, I ended up reading it in one whole session. I do prefer to read in the bathtub. It's a safe place. I poured some red wine and opened the first page. I was smoking rolled cigarettes while the water got cold, added some hot drops, had my foot open the faucet, ash kept landing on my shoulder. I was all wrinkly after. The world was circling above me - T. had installed an old globe we found at the flea market as our bathroom lamp on the ceiling. It didn't give much light to the room, so I had put up tea lights on the edges of the tub. I never wanted to leave this place. The book is wrinkly now too. It moved with me from Berlin to New York in 2009. It was the only book I brought. It was there for me when I endured loneliness, homelessness, heartbreak... It was there when I tried to come up with lyrics, but couldn't. It was there when I needed a friend.

I do feel like I need a friend. The little girl lost, she is still creeping under the sheets. But I remember she was found, too. London is on the opposite page. Maybe this is a sign. Perhaps I need to return. Perhaps I need to return the book. Maybe I will take a walk to Primrose Hill on a Monday morning in May, and will read my favorite poem while watching over the city, then accidentally leave the book in the grass. And whoever finds it will have a similar journey. Maybe I will meet this person, and they will tell me their story. I want to hear more stories. People don't tell enough stories anymore. They meet to talk about trivialities. The don't look each other in the eyes anymore. They don't take the time to feel a stare, to catch a story this way. I love stories more than anything. Tell me your story. How did you get here?

And throughout all Eternity
I forgive you, you forgive me.





February 25, 2013

26 // CHANGES // LOST // FOUND?


26. It happened. And it is probably the most radical change that I have ever felt in my entire life. I can feel it everywhere and it's in constant movement. I look in the mirror and I see a grown woman, who's just now realizing who she really is. This is a woman who struggled for years with her own identity, with her own demons. There are a few. They are still there, but they don't bother her much anymore.

Her is me. I guess if I talk about myself in third person that would show some signs of detachment from my own personality. And maybe I am feeling detached from everything right now, I feel this emptiness that I haven't felt in a whole year. 25 was a strange birthday. One year ago, I met the most wonderful person. He was everything I ever looked for and we knew that we were supposed to be together and be there for each other. It was a sign, it was something that needed to happen. I was in a bad place and he took me to a better place. I found love again, I found real love and understanding for the first time in my life. It all made sense. And then a year goes by and I look back and I'm detached, and I realize: This was the best chance I've ever had, this was the greatest opportunity to make things right, to work on myself and become somebody who could love somebody right... this was as close as I would ever get to true love. And I got pretty damn close. But there were too many obstacles, too many things to overcome. When you are young and in love, these things can hurt you and make things fall apart. Or what if you really don't know the other person as well as you thought you did? What if they had it coming? And I watched him fall down and didn't do anything, because I wasn't aware. I was in denial, I thought I could fix him. I couldn't. Nobody could fix anyone, ever. You can only fix yourself.

The love is still there. All of it. And for all I know, it won't go away for a very long time. But the trust is gone. The sadness is so strong and the disappointment and anger are two things that keep hurting me with every second that goes by. I get him now. I get his fears now and I am angry at myself for not having understood earlier, for having been in denial. I want to hold his head and tell him it will be alright. That he deserves all of me and that he will have all of me, but that he needs to be happy first, and that he will find happiness if he truly believes in himself and that he deserves all of this.

I always thought he was the stronger one. But he wasn't. He carried my sadness on his shoulders for too long and it became him. And I was selfish. And now is he. For all I know, he truly believes he needs to do this, and the decision, as cowardly as it is, might make him the man I truly want.

There are so many profound thoughts, so many tears. They all say they don't matter. But these tears will always matter. I have always given my everything for love, and I wont stop now. I am stronger than I think. And so are you. Don't forget... YOLO, bitch.







February 13, 2013

NEW YORK ISN'T REALLY NEW YORK. // GETTING OLDER.

Tomorrow is Valentines Day. What does that mean to me? Do I give myself a gift? Do I wait until next year to acknowledge this capitalist holiday? Perhaps it only means more red and pink in New York City. It means more heart shaped objects wherever I go, dangling from ceilings, staring at me from the backs of newspapers that people read on the subway. It means glitter, smiles, PDA and stressed out guys in suits walking to the subway with a bouquet of flowers in their hand while checking their watches. No flowers for me. That's okay. I don't really like flowers anyway. I see no beauty in watching beauty decay.

Oh, good old grey and cold Brooklyn. I am in a new neighborhood. Bay Ridge. It's not that much better than Bed-Stuy, except I haven't been mugged or harassed yet. I guess that is better. These last few cold winter days surprise with a bit of sun, but I keep wondering why it is not making me happy. I am not enjoying it, but don't hate it either. Perhaps it's just me getting used to the madness, used to the stress, the bad air, the noises. The hectic. The smell of pizza and laundry detergent on busy street corners. The car alarm that goes off at 5am. The old Italian guy and the Chinese lady next door yelling and complaining about the car alarm. The police sirens. Everyday. I missed all that, in those six months of Amsterdam. Now that I am back in New York I am empty once again. The refreshing feeling I get when I breathe Western European air is gone. It's all grey now.

I spend my weekends taking trains upstate. Escape. Grand Central and the New York Public Library have become my second home. I discovered secret corners between bookshelves, where I hide and wait for the last train to take me to the snowed-in North. New Rochelle. Pelham. Yonkers. The Raceway Diner. America. I might miss this somewhat. The people. Genuine, kind, smart. Rare. We play music until 3am and have pancakes for dinner. Heaven.

Seven more days until I turn 26. Thinking about it gives me goosebumps. It makes me wonder who I have become. Honestly, I am starting to like myself. Perhaps I am going to be an amazing 26-year-old, and it is a convincing thought that I will become even more amazing with every year going by.

When I was twelve, one of my Dad's friends came to visit and brought his new girlfriend, who was 24 at the time (their age difference was a touchy subject). Suzy was her name. Of course, to me she was so old, and her peroxide blonde hair made her look even older. After all, a grown up like everyone else. And she wore vests a lot (something grown ups do?).  Suzy always smoked cigarettes in our kitchen. Sometimes I would sit with her and listen to her exhaling smoke. One day she complained: "I'm 24 now. That's almost 30. What am I gonna do with my life?!"

What am I going to do with my life? 26 in one week. It can only get better from here on. A plane will take me back to Europe in two weeks. A new life. Stress. A lot of it. Wrinkles. They suit me. No complaints. No grey hair yet. Ok.

My cat is sleeping on the laptop cable.