Tuesday, 9 August 2016

distance

In January, I wrote as an Instagram caption: "Sometimes the people you love leave to have big adventures, and it's hard and awful and hurts like hell to see them walk away for the last time for what feels like forever. Thing is, you still are incredibly excited and happy for them."
Distance sucks, especially when you don't really know how you feel about someone in the first place. Distance leaves a helluvalot of room for speculation, for wondering and for driving yourself mad. Still, distance kinda gives you the chance to think about someone while not being influenced by them that much. It gives you the chance to see how much you actually like and therefore miss them, and to take a better look at what you actually hope to be for that person.
Distance makes friendships a lot harder. Distance, especially the time-zones-apart kind of distance really makes you see how much time you are willing to spare to talk to someone, and how much of their time goes towards you when they're exploring and adventuring on the opposite side of the globe.
Distance somehow makes a reunion so bittersweet that it almost hurts. I have a couple of friends that live train rides that sometimes last three and a half hours away, and seeing their faces light up when they spot me on the train platform makes up for the months we were apart, and still it hurts because I know after these few days I won't see them again for months.


A friend of mine recently returned from a year abroad, another one from a semester. Friends of mine are going to university a few hundred kilometers away and while I don't want things to change, they will. They will change over time, the way you behave around each other will shift - whether that's awkward silence when you see each other again because you haven't been involved in each others life and it feels off to share the same space on this planet again, or it's the excitement that's been bubbling in you since you made plans to see each other because oh god I missed you so much come here I'll hug you forever.
A lesson I've only recently learnt: sometimes it's the best to just let something go. People, relationships, dreams, things. Of course you should keep fighting for what you want, but sometimes it's better for you and any other involved party to realize it's time to quit. Distance can help realize that and make the decision, but it also can make it a whole lot harder. You've managed to keep at least somewhat of a connection going, so it's difficult to admit that somehow the line ripped off and you can't talk to each other anymore.
Distance is a weird thing: it rips you apart and sometimes brings you back together even closer, but sometimes the gap of a few months and a couple hundred kilometres stays the same, even after you've seen each other again. I guess it's not the distance but what you make of it.

Monday, 27 June 2016

changing skin

1. The girl I am today is shy and silent
she's two layers of cozy sweaters
that are perfect to hide in
she's burning candles and crying in the dark
and sad songs drifting through the air
she's notebook scribbles and dreams;
the fragile princess of castles on clouds

2. The girl I am today is tough and cold
she's red lipstick and all-black
and "I don't believe in anything at all"
she's made from ice and rocks
she'll throw at you if you come too close
she's built her throne from blood and bones;
the heir of a kingdom of pride and fear

3. The girl I am today is sweet and kind
she's dresses made of flowers and rosy cheeks
and the one who kisses goodbye
she'll hug the nightmares away and show you heaven
full of sunshine and warmth like hers;
she's the light in your life and your heart
winner of the crown to your soul


4. The girl I am today, the one I was yesterday and will be tomorrow
is not a girl at all.
she's a woman as tall and brave and wise
as anyone could be
she's armors and battles and fires in winter,
fairy tales and comfort and life.
she's a goddess, a conqueror, a heroine.
a patron, a lioness with claws and teeth of gold
she's a warrior queen, guarding her kingdom
till the last breath passes her lips
and the one you love and fear;
but never yours, never yours at all.

I wrote this poem in December '14, realizing I don't have to be the same person everyday.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

turning seventeen

I started typing this on my bed one day before my seventeenth birthday, thinking about the things that haven't happened to me yet.
I didn't get a Hogwarts letter when I was 11. That's fine. I can deal with it. There was no satyr to tell me I  am a half god. Well, that's cool too, seriously. I'm almost not sixteen anymore. I haven't started a revolution yet, nor overtrown a governement, nor do I have a sparkly vampire boyfriend, nor have I defeated an evil force that could destroy the world. As of tomorrow, I'd be considered an adult in the Wizarding World, and to be quite honest, it terrifies me.
I already am older than the main characters in my favourite book. Tomorrow, I'll be older than the main characters in most of the books I own, which is even more terrifying. I'm almost done with school, one year from now I'll have graduated and then I'm supposed to be able to take care of myself. I can definitely survive alone in our house for a few days. I can cook a few things, enough not to starve (maybe not enough for a balanced nutrition, but we'll ignore that), but completely being on my own and depend on myself? That's scarier than any horror film I've seen, and I've seen a bunch. 
I'm almost seventeen. Friends of mine have already graduted high school, friends of mine are already going to uni and being functioning adults, but I'm not sure I can be one. I've never actually lived on my own before. I've never mastered any instrument, though I've tried four up to this point.

While this probably seems very silly to most of you: I'm terrified. I am so afraid of the world that sometimes I think I'll never make it out of this small country village in the middle of nowhere, that I'll stay here forever and rot away between the fields and old houses. I'm terrified that I'm not good enough to make any difference in the world. That what I'll do won't matter, that I won't matter. I'm already almost seventeen, I haven't had any impact on the world yet and every day there's the chance that something horrible happens and I won't make it another year and then I wouldn't have done anything important yet. To say it with Orla Gartland: "I'm not sure I've got the heart for this."
But: in my almost seventeen years I've read well over 600 books, named at least 20 cats and one dog, travelled to four countries (not including my own) without my parents and finished writing two 100+ pages long stories. I've filled nine diaries, been published twice with very very short stories, I have made memories worth about 35 film rolls alone in the last three or four years, I've made a bunch of new friends in the past year, I've finally started to feel really good about myself. I finally cut my hair, after wanting to for maybe two years already, I've learnt that sometimes you just gotta. No buts, you just gotta do stuff. If I'd told my thirteen-year old self that one day before I turn seventeen I would still be here, that I'd be mostly happy and if not happy then at least content, she would have laughed, she would have thrown a few swear words at me and told me not to bullshit her. But I'm here, I'm fine, and while I might not have changed the world yet, I might one day, and, as much as the future scares me: I think I might actually gonna be completely fine.

Friday, 10 June 2016

on the streets of philadephia

The lovely Amy from Vermilion just finished her semester abroad at Penn State in Philadelphia. Her posts about the city made me miss my dear Philly even more than I already did, and the past months, I was reminicing more and more about the moments passed there. They're nothing more than snippets and scribbled words in old diaries in a handwriting I barely recognize as my own anymore, but they're still as clear and vivid as they were the very second I made those memories.
Stepping out of the airport terminal into a hall with a glass wall looking out on the highway and feeling such a sense of "I'm home" that I almost cried.
Me and a friend eating poptarts on a bench in Chestnut Hill, having just spent 2.95$ on giant erasors, enjoying the sun and fantasizing about opening our own bookshop/library/coffee shop somewhere on Germantown Ave. We'd definitely have a cat or two and a map on the wall where people could pin the place they're from.
Standing in Hideaway Music looking through the CDs and vinyls and soaking up the years and years of music embodied by all those plasic covers that went through so many people's hands.

Philly's lights at night as one of those yellow busses drove us back to a small church a few smalltowns over, the street lamps and windows and their reflections on Schuykill river, tears in my eyes caused by words about a god I didn't believe in spoken in the one church that makes me shiver more than any other, the aftertaste of spirituals sung between those wooden benches and stained glass windows, the black woman with the beautiful voice, the man who didn't stop playing the piano during the whole sermon, the 20-something year old almost-still-a-boy that was in charge of the churches choir with a voice range of at least eight octaves (he could sing everything from soprano to bass flawlessly).



Walking across JFK Plaza feeling so at home in a city I've never been to before, feeling so connected to every person passing, to every voice and every laughter I've heard, snapping a photo of the LOVE Sculpture I'd seen in so many Cold Case Episodes.

Stepping out of Reading Terminal Market just to hear an old man playing a guitar and his smile when he tells me "Thank you. You're gorgeous, princess." after putting a bit of money into his hat. (Thank you, dear old man, you have no idea how happy that memory still makes me feel.)
Street art next to churches on huge buildings and a woman telling us it's part of a project to keep the youth from the streets and from spraying senseless stuff on walls, Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and Washington Square, buying a way too expensive for it's condition second hand copy of Emily Dickinsons complete poems (it took me half a year but I read them all), two guys breakdancing in the middle of the street.
And above all, above every moment, every step, every conversation: the feeling of finally coming home after being away for too long. I don't know how my beloved Philadelphia did it, but the city that loves you back had me at hello, and it hasn't let go of my heart ever since, and it's been over three years now. So if you ever get the chance: go to Philly. Fall in love with it like Amy and I and probably everbody else who's ever been there did.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

love at third sight

On New Year's one and a half years ago, friends introduced me to a mutual friend of theirs. We exchanged a smile and a few words and didn't see each other again for the rest of my stay there. I met up with the same friends at a book festival two or three months later, met a whole bunch of other people they thought I should definitely knew. We got along pretty well; how could we not with a mutual love for books and stories? They left my conciousness as soon as I stepped on the train back home. Another two months later said friends wanted me to join them at a fabric printing workshop and of course I let them convince me. Their mutual friend that they'd already introduced me to on New Year's Eve was there too.
We hit it off immediately. Once we really started talking to each other we discovered similarity after similarity. Within the first 20 minutes of getting our room ready, we had exchanged opinions about Heros of Olympus' Jason (we both detest him) and expressed our mutual love for Jacob Reckless and even more for Fox (both characters from Cornelia Funke's Reckless Series), we laughed our butts of the first day and all three or four of us fell asleep semi-snuggling that night. She told me I looked like Helena Bonham Carter (way to win my heart) and Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice, which lead to a hour long discussion about whether Dumbledore is a good man and whether Snape should be forgiven and about how freaking much we love Sirius like oh my god.


I call her my love at third sight now, because that's exactly what it is. Once we got to know each other, once we noticed that somehow our brains seem to work very similarly. Love at first sight is a pretty imagine, a nice dream for hopeless romantics. Even though an instant attraction is a fantastic thing I value my love at third sight more than I probably would value a love at first sight. Why? Because it means I almost missed an opportunity to make a great friend, but I didn't. I made that friend even though we didn't feel the spark the first time we saw each other. It took a bit of warming up but now we're good friends and I really like spending time with her. We could have easily not made this bond if we stopped trying, if we hadn't talked again and again after that first meeting even though we didn't feel like we're about to become partners in crime right away. We tried again, and tried again, and it took almost five months (though to be fair: we live quite a bit away from each other), but eventually we bonded. We didn't stop trying.
What I'm trying to say is, similar to this lesson i've learnt: just because you don't immediately become best buds with somebody, don't stop trying. You might miss a great friendship and don't get to know a pretty cool person.

Monday, 30 May 2016

soulmates

I didn't believe in soulmates for a very very long time. I didn't believe in the soulmate definition Disney shows and Fantasy Romance books portrayed. I didn't believe that there's someone you're just meant to be with, that there's someone on this earth made just for you, that will always love you unconditionlly no matter what. Still don't believe in that soulmate definition.
What I do believe in: there'll be people out there who understand you without you having to say a word. There's no explanation needed for anything. There won't be any judging, there might be a "I don't agree with what you did or think or want.", but there'll still be a "I'll support you if you think what you're doing is best for you, even if I don't agree with it." A soulmate isn't a person that was specifically made for you, who completes you or perfectly matches your jagged pieces. A soulmate is the person that makes you feel comfortable telling them every little detail they definitely wouldn't need to know, who comforts you when you're at your lowest and doesn't allow you to crawl into that pitch black hole of sadness, who lifts you even higher when you thought you couldn't reach more, who can tell you "I envy you for what you've accomplished. And I'm so goddamn proud of you." and you know what they mean. You feel what they mean. A soulmate is someone you don't even have to look at to know how they'd respond to that thought or how they'd answer that question, but you want to anyways.

My soulmate approached me one afternoon in the bus, asking whether that had been me in the library. I said yes, and from then on, things only got better. We'd fall asleep taking about the universe and how weird boobs are, her fingers in my hair and smiles on our faces. We can't finish a movie because we both love talking and every sentence said spirals into a conversation about anything and everything and we stop the film because we don't want to miss a scene but at the end we still don't know what it was about and I feel like I've learnt a whole new universe of things. My all-time-favourite picture of me was taken by her in my garden, my favourite conversations were between us two in the bus, not even half finished streams of conciousness when she had to get off. We always say we should keep a list of topics we want to talk about but haven't found the time to yet because the universe is full of things and questions and riddles and we want to solve them all. We wanted to solve the Da Vinci mystery when we were twelve, we wanted to travel the world together when we were thirteen, we wanted to go on every adventure we could possibly have. I wouldn't want anybody else by my side at my lowest, neither at my highest. I never had to explain myself to her. She just understands, she gets me with just a single glance, a single half-smile across the room. We can have conversations simply by excanging one look. There's never been awkward silence between us. We can sit in silence for hours but we don't for the most part because there's just so much to say, so much to tell.
To me, she always seemed like the better version of myself; our brains seem to work so much alike it's almost scary, and still, she amazes me with every word, every thought, every action. We think so similarly about things and still she opens my horizon with every conversation, every sentence even. She's so much stronger and braver and better than I am and I adore her. I love her so much I think it'd tear me apart sometimes. I've never had that kind of love for anybody else. I strongly believe that love is, for the most part, a choice and not an emotion, but she's never given me a choice. I never had the chance not to love her. I have a lot of difficulty describing what I feel for her because like I said, I've never had that kind of love before. She's special. She makes me feel so much and so strongly and deeply about so many things.


In the now five years I've known her I've learnt so much about myself due to her. I've learnt so much about loving people conditionally and unconditionally and about how to find a healthy balance between those two things, I've learnt how to evaluate whether a relationship or parts of a relationship are toxic or not and how to step back from these things, look at them and change them. I've learnt how to deal with my own and other people's hurt in so much more healthy ways and when I say this girl changed me in a way I could never have imagined, I'm not telling a single lie. No one has ever had me that determined to keep my promises, to tell the truth, to be a good friend and sometimes even a good person. No one has ever made me love them in this way I can't find words for - and I usually find words for everything. I won't stop talking, but the amount of times she made me shut up and listen already are many more than anybody else in my life will be able to.
What to take from this: love isn't always romantic. You can love platonically as much as romantically. The biggest loves I think I'll ever love aren't romantic - they're platonic. Another thing to take from this: soulmates aren't that person made just for you. Pretty sure those don't exist. Soulmates are the people you'd not only trust with your life but also with all of your heart. Soulmates don't have to be a romantic partner.
One more thing: If you find a person that breaks your heart with all the love you have for them, keep them.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

about growing up and growing old

I have two big fears: growing up and growing old.
Let me explain: I'm afraid of growing up because I don't want to lose the childlike sense of wonder I've somehow managed to preserve the past 16 years, I don't want to take responsibility for anything or anybody else than myself, I don't want to have less time to do the things I enjoy because I've got to take care of my responsibilities. I am afraid that one day I can't turn on the TV any more to watch my favourite childhood show and enjoy it. I am incredibly afraid that my mind and heart will change and that I'll think of what I'm doing now as childish and stupid, that I won't value the friendships I've made during my childhood as much as I did now because we were just kids, we didn't know what friendship really meant. I am afraid I will grow out of these friendships, curse myself for spending so much money and time on train journeys to people, grow out of going to the supermarket in our free period and trying to find the most stupid thing they'd sell and laughing way too hard about one of us buying a five litre bottle of water and drinking it within the next three hours, of 11pm calls about TV-shows, of running through our school and laughing about everything and nothing. I am afraid that one day, these memories won't matter to me any more.


And here's why I'm afraid of growing old: every time I get out of my bed and hear my spine crack, I can't help but think about a time it will do so every third morning, then every other morning, then every morning and then one day I won't be able to get out of my bed on my own. I am afraid that my body will fail me, that my fingers will forget how to write, to braid hair, to fold paper dragons. I am afraid that one day I won't be able to remember how the dress looked my mother wore to her wedding, or how much bigger my father's hands were compared to mine, that I won't be able to recall my sister's eye colour, the way my best friend smiled, what my grandma's voice sounded like, that I'll forget the name of the girl I'd have given my life for – I am so afraid that not only my body, but my mind will fail me. My biggest nightmare is needing someone to take care of me, to remind me of my sisters name, my address, the year it is, who I am.
Time passing scares me so much. One day, I'll forget what the name of the boy in my drama club was, I'll forget what I wore the day that the person I liked hugged me weirdly, I'll forget the names of the sisters of the girl in my English class, how the teacher looked we always ranted about. One day, I won't be the same person I am now, and that frightens me more than anything.

 

((These photos were taken at the Clock Museum in Putbus, RĂ¼gen. If you're ever on the island, I'd definitely recommend going there! It's pure magic, and the lady who owns it is great and super lovely!!))