Thursday, August 1, 2019

The garden

I wrote the following piece back in the winter after spending longer than i care to admit trying to turn a particularly toxic fling into something meaningful, and ending up feeling some pretty severe emotional and physical repercussions of that failed attempt. 

I don't believe anyone should have to endure any form of abusive behavior in order to learn how to set healthy boundaries for themselves, but hey, sometimes that's the outcome anyway, and now, months later, months spent floating in and out of depression, but in much better company, i actually put my standards to the test, and found that i'm finally in a place where abusive, narcissistic, or emotionally unintelligent men can't get to me anymore. 
And not only that, but the carefully screened people i do let in, they respect my boundaries, and are willing to meet my standards, and even sometimes show themselves the door when they feel like they can't live up to them.
I feel like i've waited a lifetime to get to this point of self love and self respect, and while i sometimes feel like a failure for having taken so long to catch up to where everyone else seems to have been hanging out for a while without me, i try to easy on myself.
You're here now. Look at you go. Better late than never.

"I’m exhausted by mediocre men coming into my life, making a mess of it and of me, only to leave without having contributed anything to it. 
They’re drawn in by what... my aura? 
My kindness? My imagination?
They’re drawn to whatever thing they lack, that i possess, that thing that makes me who i am, makes me special, and without considering the consequences, they decide they want a part of that.
And when i begin to reciprocate feelings, always trying to see beyond the mediocrity and find something special in them as empathic women tend to do, they get a rush from it, a much required ego boost.
Because if someone as amazing as me can feel something for them, well, that would make them amazing too, wouldn’t it? Isn’t that how it works?
And being suddenly as amazing as they are, they don’t need me anymore. 
Now validated, they need more women, or more freedom, or to move on, or to go back to someone. Either way i was a taste of something, someone to affirm their uniqueness and when they have that affirmation, i’m no longer of use. 

These extraordinarily mediocre men enter into a carefully planned and curated garden. 
A sanctuary i’ve built for myself as a refuge from trauma, a place i’ve lovingly nurtured over the years. And once in it, they step on fragile, newly planted seedlings, and they uproot my most beautiful flowers only to wave them around and show people, “look at what i got, i made this, this is all me!” 
And they bend and break branches and step on the grass, and they leave behind trash, and they leave me there. Alone. To clean up their mess and start over. 
Sometimes from scratch with my garden looking like a war zone. 
Sometimes, like now, with just a few broken stems and cigarette butts in the flower pots. 

I replant and rebuild until i let the next one in. And he tells me i’m special and amazing and he’s not like the others. He would never leave behind a mess like the last guy. Oh no, he’s different!
But he’s not. He’s just another mediocre man who craves the adoration of a special woman and instead of working on enriching her life, he takes her love and her glow, and he wears it like a coat of feathers to attract other females with. 

In their story i am a chapter. 
I am a profound experience, a teacher, a therapist.
I am a rite of passage. 
And by the time they enter my world, i have already been reduced to a memory"

Anyway being alone isn't that bad, you guys. 
Having me for company for one thing is pretty great. Life with me is a goddamn Miyazaki movie!
And you know who truly appreciates the magic i create and everything that i do for them? 
All the stuff i build for the house, all the vegetables i plant on the balcony, the espresso i make them in the morning, my constant twerking and clumsiness, and all the effort i put into my home? 
Me! I fucking appreciate that!
I still want a partner, don't get me wrong, it's just that i'm no longer willing to settle for anyone less awesome than the person i'm already spending my life with (yes, me again!), and while i don't really like saying that i deserve something because that implies an entitlement i don't think any of us should necessarily feel towards life, or a universe that technically doesn't owe us shit, you know what, fuck it, i've seen some bad shit and been taken advantage of by some exceptionally shitty people along the way, and i do deserve better.
And this is gonna sound super greeting card-y and naive, but while i can never say for sure if i'll ever even be in a relationship again because i don't believe there's someone for everyone, and sometimes people die alone (that wasn't the Hallmark part btw), i do know for a fact that if i ever end up in a relationship again, it will be the best one i've ever had. Cause i won't settle for anything less.

I'm gonna start posting some of my writing from the last couple of years, cause it's piling up (i printed some of it out, so actually literally piling up), and i've been holding back, for some reason, and i'm not even sure what that reason is, to be honest.
Is it a fear of being too visible, too honest, too vulnerable? A fear of publishing something that's not perfect or super original, something that (for sure) could be better? This post is for damn sure not my finest work lol. So yeah, it's just the same old fear of being judged?
Probably! But now i'm thinking, who has time for that?
We're hurling towards the apocalypse at a fucking unimaginable speed and this time, whatever time i have, we have left, should be about taking risks, chasing happiness, and sharing our art and our thoughts and our fears, so we can learn from and support each other.
So i'm gonna spend as much time as i can being open and being real, working on my art (and actually putting it out there for the world to see), learning new skills and taking on work that scares me and that i'm not really qualified for, embarrassing myself in public (hello escooters!), hugging my friends and my dog and my family whenever i have the chance.
And, like i did today, allowing myself to come dangerously close to falling in love again.


Favorite spot





My heart

Yes. All the pictures are in such bad quality that this will most likely be my last post on blogger. Tomorrow i will start the tedious and obviously way overdue process of migrating to Wordpress like the rest of the planet


Always in progress

Dream bathroom

My city

My besties

Let the right one in

Friday, December 7, 2018

Well, I've got thick skin and an elastic heart

From the iPhone journal:

You'll need to reclaim your space.
Redecorate, clean thoroughly. Hurry up, hang your clothes where his used to be.
Until that space is yours again and you forget that,  for a while, someone else lived there too, someone you loved deeply.

You'll need to reclaim your heart.
Focus on ideas, ambitions, plans changed or put on hold for him, for "Us", plans you had before you met. Write them down, then fill your days with anything, everything, that will put distance between you and that day.
Be with friends and laugh and think about the positives, and forget his eyes, his smile.
Stay busy.
Until your heart and your mind are once again "Me" instead of "We" and you forget that the "We" that you had, was something you once loved so much, and wanted so badly.

You'll need to reclaim your body.
A space that became his, just like the home and the heart you opened up to him.
Change the sheets that smell like the both of you, get a haircut, plan your next tattoo.
Dye your hair pink, shave your legs.
Until your body, like your home and your heart and your time and your future, once again belong to you, and you alone.

That was the first thing i did. The next day, still numb and in shock. Reclaimed the space where his things used to be. Instinctively i knew i had to be quick about it, same way i knew to delete all the pictures off my phone

The next day i got offered a new job, two days after that i left my old job, carrying a large blue trash bag full of the things that had been accumulating there for nearly two years, smiling all the way to Schönleinstraße where i was meeting Wendy for brunch to celebrate leaving a job that had been making me miserable for longer than i care to admit

I'd been crying the night before for the first time since he left, but leaving that office i felt a sense of relief that i can barely describe and i think it shows on my face. Relief and finally a sense of hope for a future that's now mine to create

I picked up Lucifer that weekend, and then it was just the two of us again

My friends were amazing. They made me dinner, ate brunch with me, took me out shopping for plants, or to get a drink at a nice bar, hung out while i sat quietly, unable to really socialize but also needing people around to not feel like drowning. And they let me play with their hamsters. And it wasn't only my friends here in Berlin who took care of me. Followers and mutuals on instagram and facebook flooded me with unexpected messages of love and support, which made me feel like i mattered, at a time when i was really questioning that. I can't describe how much those messages meant to me. Not everyone has that level of support in times of need, and i am grateful for it. Thank you 

I think it took me a full week of redecorating and moving stuff around before i started cleaning, but when i did i scrubbed every corner and smudged the whole apartment with sage.
Then i organized all of my German paperwork in preparation of things like applying for a freelance tax number, which i suddenly needed for my new life

My new job forced me to leave the house, to get out and explore the city. To be creative again.
I needed that as a reminder that while bad things happen, sometimes bad people too, there's too much shit to get excited about to let the sadness completely bury you. I'm not even writing this on a particularly good day, i currently feel insecure and full of self loathing, which tells me that i'm generally doing ok

With a timing that was even better than Lucifer's, Angus came to stay with me for a week, for the first time since he moved back to Australia

His list of places to go and things to see was as long as mine, and we had an amazing week that i think made us appreciate both Berlin and our friendship even more (that's sand, btw...)

We drank a lot of coffee and wine, had a lot of good talks, and ate a lot of good food

Lucifer's health isn't the best at the moment, he has a lot of lung problems, asthma, oedemas... basically he coughs and wheezes almost constantly, and there are more vet visits than any of us would like, but other than that he's the same adorable little guy he always was

This is work now, basically 

I take selfies to remind myself that i am not broken or unworthy, and someone failing to appreciate me or treat me right doesn't determine my worth.  
My countless flaws, my cellulite, my age, my insecurities, none of this makes me less loveable. 
I am ok, i am enough (repeat mantra until it's louder than the negative self talk that's been playing on repeat since childhood)

I get my espresso here now

Family portrait

A few weeks after i left my job, i got a second new one filling in at my friends' beautiful shop once a week. Basically freelancing means i'll need lots of little jobs instead of one all-consuming one, so i spend a lot of time searching for work and writing applications, while trying not to panic too much

Shooting the sunset and people at Tempelhof

I'm a nice person, but the next man who breaks my heart won't get a chance to quietly pack his belongings because they will already be on fire. 
A warning.

Angus' last night in Berlin at a small restaurant in Neukölln that we both love

People keep telling me this will make me stronger. I get that, and it's not untrue. 
But the truth is, i don't need to be stronger. One more breakup and i'll be fucking invincible, but that's not what i want or need. What i want, some day, maybe, hopefully, is a partner who is not weak. Someone who is as strong and as brave as me, someone who's strong enough to be open and to be vulnerable.
Until such a person comes along, i'm gonna be just fine by myself

Some days i force myself to smile, until the fake smile turns into a genuine one

Berlin life: the freedom to try and be your most authentic self... and eating noodles

I still have really dark days, full of blame and self doubt and self pity, but there are fewer of them, and i try to just visit that dark place instead of moving in there

A blessed image

In less than a year i've created a really special home for myself and i need to remind myself, that the fact that i'm the only one here to enjoy it, doesn't make it any less important or impressive

I gave myself a month to get over the breakup, even though i know that's not how it works.
Healing isn't linear, but i still had that goal in mind.
A week for every month we were together, no longer.
I spent too long in the past mourning someone, who wasn't even the person i thought they were, to ever go down that path again.
I don't have another year to spare for grieving. I'm already behind on living, i got shit to do.
To my surprise it worked, and without me even going to a bad place of excessive partying or unhealthy rebounds or anything like that.
I'm over it in every way you can possibly be over something, that will always remain somewhat unresolved.
I think i've finally accepted that people won't always give you the closure or explanations you need, so it's up to you, to ourselves, to stop craving them, and find a different kind of peace.
A kind of peace that comes from aggressively loving and appreciating yourself in a way they didn't, or couldn't.
A peace that comes from forgiving yourself for making mistakes, or trusting the wrong person.
For loving and missing someone who wasn't good to you.
And i do. I do miss him so much, but it's ok to miss someone and still not want them in your life anymore.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Magical bridge trip

Previously unpublished analog photos from a magical road trip with magical people to, you guessed it, a magical bridge.
I think this was about a year ago.
I'm lucky to have friends like these.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Flora's treehaus

It's been over six months since i moved in.
It's hard to even explain the relief and the peace of mind that comes with having a real home to yourself after so long.
While moving, i would suddenly remember being 16 years old in Copenhagen, on my way to school, standing in the rain at this one bus stop that was right outside of a real estate company, and while waiting for the bus to arrive, i would look at the apartments for sale and dream.
I even remember my favorite listing, which was a tiny apartment, just one room on the 5th floor, maybe no more than 30m2? But it was cozy, it was a treehouse, and i dreamed of living there all by myself. 
Better late than never?
I have more space here, and i'm on the ground floor, not the top, but it's a treehouse nonetheless, and it's all mine.

So you can imagine the sudden wave of panic i felt after i realised i had just asked my very new boyfriend whom i'd met only a week earlier, the night before these pictures were taken, to move in with me.
During the photo shoot he was in bed, probably still hungover from our first date the night before, while i was in the kitchen, talking about plants.
I barely knew him, even though it felt like i'd known him forever.
And i love living by myself, so what was i thinking?
But the panic lasted only a second, and now, almost two months later, with him sleeping in the bedroom, and his mom who's visiting us from the States having a cigarette on the balcony, it kind of feels like it's always been this way. 

It's hard to even explain the happiness and peace of mind that comes with having a loving relationship after so long.

These photos were taken by Alex Bender for the Plant Circle blog, where you can read an interview with me, talking about my love of plants.
Please go check out the interview, it's one that i am really proud of being a part of.