Friday, November 13, 2015

Memories destroy us

From the iPhone journal:

"Mexico was a year ago.
A year ago today i was there, and in a way, i'm still there. 
Stuck in a parallel universe, i can watch myself, i can relive my experiences and repeat my mistakes.
It's not always like this. On a regular day i can forget. 
On a regular day i can even joke about that time i did something so crazy, like travel to the other side of the world by myself for someone... someone who...

But the anniversary is like a mirror that allows me to see it all so much clearer. 
Smell it, hear it.
Allows me to almost be in those moments. 
I can watch, i can feel, but just like a regular memory, i can't save myself from the heartbreak that is to come, the heartbreak that started the moment my plane set down in Mexico City. 
Perhaps even months before.
I can't protect parallel me. 

Would i?
Would i even change a thing?

Maybe it'll always be like this. 
Every anniversary, every November, i will be forced to relive it. 
The beauty, the magic, the pain, the agony of a life i borrowed for a while but could never have. 
A love i borrowed for a while. But could never have."

So i actually did buy that cheap drugstore film i mentioned in my last post, and guess what?
It's not that bad!

These photos are from a trip to an abandoned water park near my house this week with some friends, and as you can hopefully tell from my photos, it was pretty awesome.
It's one of the few abandoned places in Berlin where you don't have to sneak past security, or climb a barb wire fence, and i plan to go back there next week when my mom comes to visit to explore and take more photos.

The days are getting shorter, and usually my mood would be getting about as dark as Berlin around 4 pm, but i'm actually pretty happy.
We got a new roommate about a week ago, and although i'd never imagined that i'd be sharing a flat in Berlin with three other girls at this point in my life, i couldn't be happier with our living situation.
Being around people who are supportive and creative and up for anything, is what it's all about for me.
I crave that.

What else did i do? I built a new habitat for our hamster, made a new winter coat for my dog, put up a new shelf in the kitchen, worked on a painting i'm actually excited about, wrote things that'll be published here in the future and other things that'll never be published at all, went to parties, wore lots of jewelry, costumes, and wacky makeup, danced, talked to my best friends for hours and hours about nothing and everything, took lots of pictures, got kissed a bunch, made new friends, enjoyed life.

As for the journal entry and my feelings about Mexico... 
People will tell you to get over shit all the time.
It's been a week, a month, a year?
Move on, get over it.
And maybe that works for them, i don't know.
But in my experience, there are just some things you never get over.
They fade and become less important, but some things will stay with you for the rest of your life, and i don't necessarily think that means you're a bad person, or a grudge holder.
Maybe it just means that you feel things deeper?
Or that your active imagination can transport you back in time, back to those moment, in a more vivid and emotional way than that of others?
I am the kind of person who strives to live in the now, work hard on it even.
And i really, truly enjoy every moment of being alive, cause you never know how long you're here for.
But i'll still always have one foot in the past.
So don't tell me to get over it.
Just accept that this is how i deal, and this is who i am.

Monday, October 26, 2015


If someone were to ask me what 2015 has been like so far, i wouldn't know what to say yet.
So much happened, so many conflicting feelings, so much joy and so much confusion.
Like, how do you even begin to describe something that big?
It's like describing the ocean or the person you love.

If last year was the year i was born, this is the year i learned to crawl.
So with any luck, i'll be walking by 2016.
I hope so.
I can't wait to run.

Here's a random mix of pictures from London, Neukölln, and the Danish countryside, just because i felt like posting something tonight.
I think that one of the field was the only analog photo i took on that trip to Denmark!
Sometimes dragging that heavy camera around the globe just for the possibility of getting a good shot seems kinda silly, but i know i'd regret not bringing it.

I am currently completely out of film, and i'm actually considering getting cheap drugstore film at this point.
Expensive hobbies are the actual worst.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

J'étais censé t'aimer, mais j'ai vu l'averse

I just did that thing where i wrote a long post, read it a few times, then decided that i wasn't feeling it.
Not today anyway.
But at least i have new analog photos to post!
Not that this film was pure gold, far from it. 
But that sunflower picture isn't too bad.

From the iPhone journal:

"In my past life, i wore no makeup.
I faced the world every day, barefaced and vulnerable.
The real me, on display, but hidden at the same time.
These days, a  part of my morning is spent putting on a face that isn't quite mine.
That's the face that faces the world, the face that people meet for the first time, the face that still smiles at strangers on the metro.
Less vulnerable, perhaps, but at the same time, more me."

The sunflowers are from the community garden at Tempelhof Airfield.
That place is magical, you guys.
It's really not far from my apartment, and i've walked there a couple of times with my camera in recent weeks.
It feels like it's the last call for taking good pictures outdoors, no?
It's getting darker and i'm personally dreading not being able to take any decent pictures for the next god knows how many months.
Fellow analog enthusiasts, what do you do in the long, cold winter months?
Shoot more indoors? Do portraits?
I'd love to hear your ideas on the subject in the comments.

In other news, my heart is pretty light.
I'm as lost as always, but i have so much to be thankful for, it's kind of ridiculous.
People in particular.
I'm in good company these days.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Life in the now

It's October 1st and i woke up with a strange urge to start fresh, start over.
To somehow make this month different than the last one.
I normally don't even notice what today's date is unless it's someone's birthday, but today feels different.
I'm not sure how or why, but i think it started yesterday.
It was probably just a result of drinking way too much coffee, and riding my bike too fast in the cold but sunny autumn weather, but for most of the day i was feeling so alive i was worried my enthusiasm might cause me to break something.
Is that happiness? I think it is.
Happiness for me is usually very brief and not caused by anything in particular.
Just a feeling of being alive and present in the moment.
Or feeling like i belong, like i felt like i belong in Berlin yesterday.

It didn't last all day.
Feelings fueled partially by caffeine rarely do, so during dinner at a pasta place not too far from here i kind of crashed, and my night was a quiet one, spent watching The Blacklist in slow motion on my shitty, old laptop, and taking pictures of the hamster.
Nothing special, but i still felt good.
Just a bit more alive than usual.

Today i slept in, as i have ever since coming back from London, and i stayed in bed for at least an hour after that, checking instagram and chatting with Wendy on Whatsapp.
But now, again, after nothing particularly great or interesting has even happened, the feeling is back.
That feeling of wanting to do something drastic, something radical, something that makes this not just another Thursday.
Something that can express this feeling of being in the moment, and belonging there.
Maybe i should cut my hair, get tattooed, or start a painting?
Perhaps it's time to burn all of my old journals.
I'll probably do none of those things, but i will write, and i will plan!
And hopefully later today someone i like will kiss me, and even later in the evening i will be with my friends, and i will laugh and drink.
And as usual, i will take pictures, to try and capture the moment, so when i need it, when i'm having a bad day, i can go back and live in it.

These photos are from back in July, when i finally got to visit one of those abandoned places that's been on my to-visit list for ages.
It's an old brewery, not as old or eerie as the abandoned hospital, which i apparently forgot to post newer pictures from, but fun and photogenic, no less.

I went with Jessica, who besides being my roommate is also my partner in urban exploration and analog photography, and two other awesome Canadian chicks who were visiting Berlin at the time.
We had a great afternoon of climbing fences, taking pictures, telling scary stories and drinking lukewarm späti wine on top of a tower with a view over the then scorching hot city.
I felt alive and real on that day too.
And i'm happy i always remember to document those moments.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Stories from the past, adventures in the present

I don't know the exact moment my severe anxiety disorder disappeared, but i think it may have been the morning of January 15th last year.
I'd gotten up early in the morning for an appointment at a hospital i'd never been to before, and i was going there alone.
It was only a few weeks after my marriage had fallen apart, and only three or four days since i'd reluctantly agreed to a separation, and i was still a complete mess.
Was it in Steglitz, maybe, the hospital?
My memory is the worst sometimes, but i do remember that i had to be there early in the morning, something that in itself used to be panic inducing for me.
Morning appointments, morning flights, all a complete nightmare for someone like me.
But i went.
And i waited, as one does in hospitals.

A few days before i'd been to another appointment alone, but a minor one.
An ultrasound, to try to determine if any of my many sometimes painful tumors could be cancer.
It's funny how they always tell you to do self exams, but there's very little information out there on what to do if you have a bunch of tumors, but don't know if they're benign or not.
Get checked.
But not too often because of the radiation.
"Let us know if that thing under your skin gets any bigger. Cause that's bad. Ok good luck, see you in two years!"
To another check-up i went.
On the day of the 15th i was getting a biopsy done, of one of the more sketchy looking tumors.
They all look sketchy to me, to be honest.
It's so random which ones get checked, and which ones just get left there to kinda do their thing.
Their thing being hopefully nothing at all.

Like i said, i waited.
I was probably reading a book, but i can't remember which.
I finally got in with the doctor and a couple of nurses.
She was nice enough, the doctor, and the room was dark still, because it was morning.
I wasn't nervous, and i found that odd.
Normally my heart would be pounding, and my face would start to get warm.
My stomach would turn and a wave of anxiety would roll over me.
I'd wonder if i was sick, maybe a fever or food poisoning?
I would need to run to the bathroom, maybe run cold water over my wrists or take a panic dump.
Then i'd probably realize that i was having a panic attack, and i would try to breathe, stay calm, and most importantly, make sure no one noticed.
Years of covering up my condition had made me a master, so they wouldn't have.
Very few people ever suspected.
But none of that happened.
I just sat there.

I'd had biopsies done before, the procedure didn't scare me, but i was still a little shocked when massive amounts of blood started gashing out from the tiny hole in my right breast and onto my light blue jeans.
It just kept coming, the fabric turned a dark brownish red.
My jeans still have a faint spot, barely visible now, and only i know that it's blood.
I had the wound for months, it was tiny but refused to heal, and it was located right next to a surgical scar that only a few people even knew existed.

They wrapped me up in gauze and tape.
Wrapped it around my body like they were trying to pass me off as a boy, flattening my chest completely.
Then i left.
In the lobby i ate part of a banana because i felt light headed, but because i'm such a germophobe, i didn't feel comfortable eating in a hospital.
I ate about half, then took a taxi home.
Or, not home.
The house that wasn't a home anymore.
But i had nowhere else to go, and as you know, it would take me over a year to get out of there.

So why am i even telling you this?
I haven't even blogged about anxiety in a really long time, but yesterday someone asked me if i'd experienced any during my weekend in London, and i said "oh, i don't have that anymore".
And i realized that i don't, actually.
But even though i don't suffer from it on a daily basis, saying that i don't have it is only partially true.

Having an anxiety disorder isn't exactly something you can ever be cured from, is it?
I don't think so, not completely.
But you can stop suffering from it.
You can stop having panic attacks.
And mine went away when i lost everything.
I had to learn how to be my own safety person.
And in a way i was lucky.
Not lucky when it came to the circumstances of the breakup, or the pain it caused, but the outcome.
I was already working on getting over my anxiety way before the breakup, but it was hard work.
Reading numerous self help books, maintaining a specific diet, meditating daily, and even with all that effort, a panic attack could happen whenever and wherever.
All that work and what finally did the trick was a shock to the system.
An emotional earthquake.
An event that would destroy my old life, and also destroyed the old me, and the anxiety with her.
Yeah, i guess that's kind of lucky.

I'm not cured, i'm not immune.
In theory, i could have a panic attack right now.
But i still went to London this weekend to work, and for the first time since i started attending the tattoo convention ten years ago, i was anxiety free the whole time.
And i felt such immense gratitude.
I was grateful for no longer being in a relationship that made me feel so sad and guilty about everything, that it would manifest itself physically and literally make me sick.
I felt grateful for my new life, for my friends, for being able to travel without fear, for meeting new people, for not being secondary, for not hiding.
Being single, being alone, being lost, being confused, it's all worth it, one hundred percent worth it.
Cause i might be lost and alone and confused, but at least i get to be me.
I get to be the main character in the novel that is my life, and i get to live that life without fear.
And i can't begin to describe what a huge change that is from the person i was when i last attended that convention two years ago.
I still have a lot of love and empathy for the person i was back then, but i sure am glad i'm not her anymore.

I did bring the Canon to London, but since we were trapped in a basement most of the weekend, i didn't take that many pictures.
So here are some crappy iPhone ones, of which there weren't many either, actually, but it'll have to do for now!

We arrived Thursday, dropped our bags off at the apartment, then headed to the convention to set up for Friday... walked by the river and saw this view on our way back

Dungeon life! The booth wasn't in the best spot, unless of course you like water leaks from the ceiling or the fact that no one can find you!

I sold out of these prints, so i ordered some more for my etsy as soon as i got back. What a crazy feeling to actually sell prints of my own art work... surreal!

English breakfast kinda rules

There in the background are Wendy and our roommates Lorena and Darby, waiting for me while i try to take a picture of a cat... that's what being my friend is like, in case you're wondering

Selfie action with fellow dungeon dweller Jee

That time i got my hair braided by this awesome lady 

Broken heart, but not heartbroken 

Coffee and the best breakfast ever at TRADE with Wendy and sneaky Stuart

Dinner and colorful drinks at Giraffe with the roommates

Sunday steeze...Grimes meets The Tick? 

Wendy at work on Saturday 

The roof of our building had a very nice view of the city

British beauties

On the way to the convention in the morning

We felt like such idiots for leaving our selfie stick in Berlin, but we made it work anyway

Besides being best friends and flatmates, me and Wendy have also traveled together three times this year, and we still haven't killed each other... i think we should get some kind of friendship trophy for that

I love having friends who not only don't mind waiting around while i take pictures for my instagram, but even assist me when i need it... enablers in the best way!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pumpkin spice shut the hell up

It's Sunday, and i don't have much to write, but i got photos back from the lab on Thursday, and since it's a rainy day today, i felt like posting a few sunny ones. 

I'm still in denial about summer having ended, and every time someone talks about autumn being their faaaavorite season, and how being cozy in your bed with a wide assortment of pumpkin related food items is just the best thing ever, i kinda wanna punch them in the face. 
Seriously, what's so fucking great about freezing?
But that being said, even though it's getting colder and darker, i'm generally pretty happy. 

I recently found an older rant on my phone about how boring this summer was compared to the last one, but all things considered, i'll take a bit of boredom over last years constant drama.
I think...

 From the iPhone journal: 

"What is happening to Berlin? 
It's still summer, right? 
Summers here are supposed to be epic. Last year was epic! 
I remember working a lot, but I also went out every weekend. 
So much drinking, dancing, kissing, fighting, laughing, doing crazy shit with crazy people every damn week. In comparison, this summer is just kind of... sad. 
People leaving. 
Even the drama is more just plain sad than it is passionate. 
I'm starved for fun. 
One more week of this and I'll be back at Yaam, making out with Puerto Rican gangsters. 
 Don't let it come to this, Berlin!" 

Lucky for me i didn't get that bored! 
He was very nice, though, for someone who wore a bandanna and had a tribal tattoo on his hand.
Oh yeah, i'm all about making the good life choices.

Here are a few shots from my neighborhood of Neukölln, one from Haubentaucher, a place in Friedrichshain with a great pool, and a horse in Spandau. 
Because why not.