Thursday, January 5, 2017

So... what are you gonna do now?




Months ago i wrote a thing on my phone about topics that made me uncomfortable when brought up, especially by strangers.
I guess i was getting the same questions a lot at the time, and i needed to vent.

The same topics aren't necessarily bothering me now.
Actually not much does, it's one of the few perks that comes with not caring much about anything.
But since i'm still a little too fucked up to really talk about my life these days, i thought i would dig into the archives and share some of my writing from that year, 2016, because as it turns out, i actually have a lot.

From the iPhone journal:

For what seemed like the longest time after leaving the tattoo shop, I was unemployed.
I was so lost and I was too scared to even sit down and write a resume, because it would mean admitting, and making very public, that I don't have any real education, and no meaningful skills that could easily lead to employment.
I was scared and embarrassed, and a lot of people just said mean things behind my back instead of trying to support me, or just accept the place I was in.
I would dread meeting new people, because for most people, the first question that comes right after an introduction is "so what do you do?"
And when you don't do anything, when you've been stripped of the identity that comes with having a job and a purpose, beings asked that question is beyond uncomfortable.
At first I tried out "oh, I'm in between jobs" or "not sure yet haha".
Then I tried "I'm an artist" but seeing as how I had sold maybe fifteen prints of my artwork in my life, I could never pull that one off convincingly.
So in the end I just settled for a sardonic smirk followed by "I'm unemployed, I don't do shit".
It would at least make people move along to the next victim quicker than the others ones, and it was the truth.
The question always terrified me though, I could always sense it coming.

In some situations, no answer I could give would make a person just lay off.
They'd keep going.
They'd ask "so what are you gonna do now?" 
And my brain would echo "OMG what ARE you gonna do now?! Fuuuuck we're so fucked!" and I'd have to smile awkwardly, and answer vaguely and politely, because even when someone asks you a deeply personal question that makes you highly uncomfortable, you're not allowed to make them uncomfortable back. 

So now that I am finally employed, now that I did what they all asked and expected of me, and took charge and found something to do, however pathetic it may seem, you'd think the questions would stop. But no. Now, based on recent experience, the question apparently is "so what's next?".

And I know, I know it's only small talk and they only say it to fill the silence. 
But seriously, that's some heavy fucking small talk!
"What are your plans for the future then?" almost makes me as panicky and uncomfortable as "so when are you gonna start a family" used to. 
Almost. 
Because obviously I don't know what's next. "So you're gonna stay in Berlin or...?"

There are some things that make people uncomfortable to talk about, and if in doubt, if you don't know whether the question you're about to ask just to fill the air between you and the other person will make them uncomfortable, maybe don't ask. 

So, just for fun, I present you with a brief list of topics that are making me highly uncomfortable these days.

Uterus. 

Asking a divorced or separated woman whether or not she plans on having babies... that might be a sensitive topic. 
And when she answers by affirming her current status, and saying she doubts it, maybe don't follow up with a list of the many ways she can go about having a baby without a man. 
Maybe I don't want children or maybe not having them is the greatest regret and sorrow in my life.
Either way, just leave it. 

Goals. 

I work at a call center in Germany. 
I commute for three hours a day, and I sit in a grey cubicle getting yelled at for another eight and a half. 
I share a flat with three roommates, and a hamster, and I only have the dog I've been raising since he was eleven weeks old part time. 
I'm not skinny, I'm not successful, my hair is stupid, and the few things I'm passionate about, I have no time for. 
Most of us have secret goals set in life, like "by the time I'm twenty five I want to be at this point in my career" or "by the time I hit thirty I'll want to start a family".
Well not everyone reaches those goals, and this is probably not where I expected to be at this point in my life, and it's doubtful I'll ever be able to make up for lost time and achieve anything substantial, so maybe don't rub it in.

Money. 

Don't ask me how I make them, how many of them I make, or what I spend them on. 
That includes asking me about how much I pay for my health insurance or how much my rent is. 
I don't really care how fascinated you are by the Berlin real estate market, or average salaries in the city. 
I'm Scandinavian, I find it rude.

Scars. 
I have a few, and one is particularly ugly and visible.
It's big and it never healed right. Went keloid instead.
My readers were there when I got it, they all know at least part of what happened, it's no secret. 
But I do like to pretend it's not that bad. That maybe you can't see it *that* clearly. 
So when a stranger or acquaintance asks "OMG how did you get that scar?" it not only reminds me of a very traumatic time of my life, it also shatters any hopes I have of it not being that visible. 
Side note: saying it's cool and it makes me look "kind of like a pirate" (actual things said to me by at least two adult women) is not a compliment. 
Stop. Just stop. 

Future. 

Bitch, I can barely handle my present! 
I don't know! I don't know if I'm gonna stay in Berlin for a few more years or forever. I don't know if I'll eventually move back to Denmark or if I'll wind up on a beach in South America, or in a Tokyo suburb. And given that none of us know the future, I don't know if I'll be dead long before any of those things even have the chance to occur. I don't know if I'll be able to get another job that's better suited to whatever talents you think I might possess. 
I fucking hope so and I'm fucking trying. 
You can go ahead and assume that I'm fucking trying based on the aforementioned commuting time. 

Language. 

Learning German comes easy to some of my friends and not so easy to others. 
People sometimes assume that I'm some kind of prodigy because my English is good, but no, I'm just Danish, we learn that particular language early in life. 
I struggle. I've been trying to learn Japanese for two years and it's a waste of money. I suck at it!
And I am trying to learn German, but it is a foreign language, and despite any similarities, it's not the same as Danish.
This summer someone (who doesn't live in Germany) actually said to me "I think German is so easy! It just comes so naturally to me... why don't you speak it?" 
Well maybe because I'm not a linguistic genius, but hey, at least I possess good enough manners to not ask a question like that one.
So that's something.

If you've read this far, hi! 
And also, i encourage you to share your own list of panic topics in the comments, i'd love to hear what kind of questions make you freeze when a stranger corners you at a social event.

Photos are analogues from California in September 2016, because i still have many to share.
It's kind of heavy on sea lion cuteness.
My phone broke and I couldn't take photos, so i kinda overdid it with the film ones.
I'm happy I did, though.
Who doesn't like sea lions?
















Sunday, December 25, 2016

Clueless



I don't know what feels more sad. 
Posting pictures from December, a month i've spent being stressed out and in mourning, or posting pictures from before, and remembering. 
I've said it before, but when it comes to breakups, everything gets divided into before's and after's. 

December was a daze for me. 
Once i stopped crying, i stopped caring. 
I stopped cleaning my room, i stopped giving a shit about anything but work. 
Every day was spent under water, gasping, struggling to come up for air. 

I'm coming out of it now, but i'm not over it, i haven't quite healed. 
It takes time, and the truth is, it get's harder every time. 

I'm not gonna write about it. More about it, that is.
The details. 
That's not true. I did write about it. 
Pages, notes, unpublished posts. 
I wrote and wrote, but i'm not gonna put it out there this time, at least not right now. 
Everything still hurts, and although i feel a little better, i'm still processing, i'm trying to understand.
Trying to figure out what i did wrong, how i can protect myself better in the future. 
Trying to forgive myself and the one i still love. 

So here are some pictures from a shitty month to end an uhm, questionable year. 
And some from October and November too, just because it's been a while. 

I'm in the country now, home for Christmas, as i'm sure some of you have guessed, since that's usually the only time i actually have the time to blog! 
I'm enjoying a few precious days with my old friends and my family. 
Enjoying being able to relax when i'm sick, which i am, and nap when i'm sleepy, which oh my god i am.
Most of all i'm enjoying a break from my life in Berlin, which is never boring but also, it seems, never fucking easy.



Spreewald trip with my parents back in October

We rented a house, went sightseeing, sailing, and took gangsta ass portraits

I guess i did some redecorating back when this was taken? This corner looks a lot different since i basically stopped giving a shit about my room. Hopefully that's a temporary state as well...

Madonna appreciation society

This was a while ago

From that Madonna party, tried some Blonde Ambition curls and failed, but the party was fun

Random hangover day with Ip Man and junkfood 

Potsdam mornings... i'm not gonna miss them!

Back when i still had some time to paint, and also wanted to

Yeah, so

This must have been in October too, cause everything is dead now

This is not true, and the next day it was gone, but on this day, when i was heading from work to a job interview, it was exactly what i needed to see

This was about 15 minutes before the interview.
I had a matcha latte and took a selfie for good luck... and i got the job

Feeble decorating attempts

From another party... not posting the waist down, or my squad for that matter, because we weren't exactly sfw 

The fact that i've used the tub more than once this year, isn't saying anything good about my stress levels and overall mental health

In 2016 i finally learned how to braid my hair, poorly, and also learned how to open a beer using a fork or a lighter, also poorly

Thanksgiving, i get choked up when i think about how genuinely thankful i was that night

In the days after it happened, my face was so ravaged by grief i could barely recognize myself, but thanks to the support of good friends, i had stopped crying and started eating by the time i started my new job

About a week after i started my new job, i started to bring this guy along with me. 
He's bored, nine hours is a long time to lie around doing nothing, but it's better than being alone, and on my lunch break, we go for a walk

I work in Kreuzberg now, which means i can meet friends after work! This was on a weekend though, i remember because i had a massive hangover and made Wendy take me for pizza and beer

I bribed him with snacks to get him to sit still for this double portrait

The company i now work for had a birthday, and we all got free cake (obviously i couldn't pick just one...)

Lunch break exploration in Bergmannkiez, where i spotted this magical backyard

Mallrats

A month later, and i'm slowly starting to smile again

Lucifer works in fashion now, so i make him wear a scarf... i figured at least one of us has to dress the part

The company Christmas party had a dress code, and i somehow ended up looking like Cher from Clueless... i also got drunk and acted like a hot mess, but that was kind of expected

When i arrived in Copenhagen a few days ago, i stayed with Mille and her adorable, recently expanded family

This guy is pretty new, and so very cute

The next morning i met up with Martin and Christel to catch up and drink coffee while they did the last Christmas shopping, and i just enjoyed being with my friends and not having to rush through Copenhagen for once

Because they're awesome, Martin and Christel got me early Christmas gifts! Which was extra appreciated this year, cause i knew i was probably only getting one lol

These are my nephews. Gilbert is almost five and he knows exactly who i am. We're good friends.
Julius had no clue as to who i was, which is fair enough with him being a baby and me living in Berlin, but he's gotten used to me already

We ran into some very loud geese while buying Christmas tree

White Christmas? More like wet Christmas

Yesterday the sun was out, so me and my mom went for a quick, and windy, walk on the beach

Gilbert and his mom decorated the tree while i held the baby. 
I think they did a great job

He's easily amused. Clearly we're related