I get bombarded by notions of how I should live my life as a still kind of young adult. Travel, do crazy things, meet a million people, go to festivals all the time, party hard, eat at fancy places, save the world, be a sparkly social unicorn, …
Yes, sounds nice, but for the moment, I just want a simple life. I want to work, train capoeira, make art, learn about things at my own pace, sleep, watch the snail I put into a jar to keep it for a few days before releasing it again, I want to watch clouds and listen to thunderstorms, I wish I had more friends to simply hang out with to talk, sunset hugs, sit at the beach at night; I want to have more energy to ride my bike out of the city in my free time, just feel my kind of freedom again, or read more books again. Travelling all over the world is for another year. I want to be content, have what I need, feel secure for a while. I miss the fields, the old paths, poppies and green turning to gold, summer nights spent outside. I love and hate the big city. I love and hate what I left, what I lost because I had to run off with what was left of my sanity and sense of self, and I love and hate the melancholy of being stuck between these worlds. I long for friends and community and solitude at the same time. I’m dreaming of a small rustic house with a garden and a studio at the edge of a forest right beside the modern city, with friends willing to come over for stargazing. I want a simple life with space for my complex inner world.
I have a lot of thoughts in my head these days, but they are somewhat vague, some hazy, some blurred, some to quick and complex to be caught in words yet. I want to write more again, more often, more organized. I tried to push forward in life and suppressed that creative voice inside, tried to find a more grown-up creativity, tried to press myself in a mold I won’t ever fit. Lately I’ve been going back to reading my old stories – the really crazy, surreal ones (mostly SciFi fanfiction with random strange occurrences) – and to watching the old shows that had been my refugium in teenage years. I want to write again, and try to voice my old sense of wonder again, to put down the absurd episodes my brain brings up whenever given the opportunity to breathe. Maybe someday I’ll find a story that will be wondrous enough to captivate others.
Also, future not clear yet. Destination unknown. Vague ideas, nothing tangible.
I miss the life I used to have, or at least the things and moments that could have become something beautiful. Forest walks, playing music by myself on the old wooden bench among soft green hills, brushing horses, and flying kites in the autumn sky when the fields were full of golden stubble. I miss sitting in a small, dim room with a friend singing Irish songs to the few chords I could play on my guitar. I miss how freely I could breathe in the moments I forgot the 95% crap my life was then. I miss girls’ nights spent writing insane stories, watching fantasy movies, making up names, and dreaming of space ships. Winter was full of backyard sled-hills made from buckets of snow, summer was stargazing, family singing in three or four languages at the same time by the fire, and listening to stories on cassette in the gloomy light of glow sticks. I miss wooden sword fights and walking around the garden while hooping. I miss the unspoken promises of adventure, of a life full of jugglers and stories and wandering bards, of science fiction and wonderful worlds, of walking the edge of nature and following stony creeks below thick overgrowth many times more. I can’t remember how to get to those places, I wouldn’t know how to find the ones who would have walked with me back then, how we would sink back into who we once were, who we could have been. I want to cry every time I see the hills, the autumn forests, the open space rolling in waves of green and gold and blue, unlike the flat open landscapes I can go to now. And still I know that what I miss is a fantasy. The songs have been sung, people moved on, the old market shrunk to a joke of itself, creeks have been lost and forgotten, and the horses I knew have grown too old to carry anyone. But we could have had something beautiful. I miss having someone who would reminiscence with me, to write and paint these unspoken dreams of where we were headed for a few short years.
Born in the days of autumn rain and slushy snow, the colour of rain and salty spray of seawater still shows in my eyes. Neither clearly grey nor blue, so I just call it the colour of rain, of steel-blue clouds, of a wall of fog on the mountain side, clinging to the golden trees like a sheet of grey silk. I’m born of rain, and rain is what runs in my veins, steaming and bubbling when meeting the fire flowing from my heart. I’m born of rain, and when I feel blue, blue like rain and fog on a forsaken shore, I’m larger than the sum of my parts, I’m more than one raindrop – I’m a storm, a force of nature, and yet just a drenched figure, huddled between rocks and watching myself pass into the fog. I’m born of rain, and it remains inside and outside of me. There is a cloud following me, watering the thoughts I mindlessly sow in the furrows my inner storm tore open, while I follow a the trail this gale I am is blazing in front of me. Sometimes the thoughts I sow are seeds as blue as a clear-washed sky, sometimes as dark as a thunderstorm rolling heavy with rain. I’m born of rain, and I won’t ever escape what my eyes betray. I’m born of rain, and I’m learning to choose to embrace the clouds, to stuff them with white feather-dreams to make them less heavy, hugging them close like a pillow or a blanket, listening to the rain inside and watching it drawing patterns in my mind, tracing story lines down a window pane in intricate patterns, stories to write down, to escape into like sailing on paper ships across foreign seas, to capture in my cupped hands and watching them spill on crumbling paper, sometimes for myself, sometimes for others to read.
Keep your fairy dust, your pinks and sparkles, your lace and ballet shoes. I have no use for them – I’d rather breathe freely, heavily, sweating and panting but content, than choking on glitter and inhaling the epitome of daintiness. Stay trapped between glossy magazine pages, if you want to. Drink from poisonous words of self-hatred and bird-bone fragile ideals from broadcasted streams of perfect lips, to the dehydration of your ever paling sense of self. When I wear black, it is to match a million stars and provide enough vastness for whole clusters of myriadically coloured nebulae. I wear white, and it is the canvas for my life, my future, to be painted in all the shades of songs, laughter, hopes, fears, grief, joy, success, failure, grounded optimism and meaningful relationships instead of strained efforts to be nothing but happy, living in a cheerful bubble made of denial and digital filters, where performance and pretence replace the art of living. There is no place for pink and powdery pastels in my wardrobe, as even my skin is but a parchment providing space to be inked with maps of adventures yet untold, to count in tiny scars and bruises my encounters with trees and brambles and mock fights. I dance en pointe in sneakers along supermarket aisles, skip through train stations, and do backbends and cartwheels on the dancefloor to feel like myself. I am free when I do the dishes at midnight and chase clouds with my camera at lunch. My fairy kingdom is made of moss and sticks instead of plastic castles, and I’m not a princess but a guard, an explorer, sometimes even a warrior queen hunting for rocks. I’ve been too old to fit into cute clothes since I was able to read excavation diaries and old legends. I tried to dress up, to paint a mask over my freckled pale face. I tried, and all that is called pretty failed me, as it clashed with my shoulders’ harshness, crashed on my collarbones, and shattered like sea-glass on old rocks, creating not the harmony promised by pink packages of perfumed herbal teas but only discord in my eyes, visible for all. The only intersection of my dreams and the ones they try to sell with airbrushed billboards is the wish for a horse, a strong and loyal horse to carry me beyond the end of busy road, to where the reign of media ends and the realm of reality begins.
I still don’t have the results for my master’s thesis. I don’t even know whether I passed or not. Honestly, I don’t know if I even care anymore.
For the moment I’ll have to focus on my work (still have to work through a backlog of several hours) and then …
The last few years everything fell into place in some unexpected ways. Maybe it’s time I learn to trust again in being lead, in being guided to the next step. It’s just so frustrating to see others’ careers take of, people living their dreams, while to me it looks like I’ll never find a way to get paid for doing the things I really love. Sometimes I don’t even know what my dreams are. But photography is at least part of it. Writing my PhD about African languages/cultures would enable me to combine my love for research and photography. Cultural documentation in more than one way would be awesome. So would be science, art, and many other things. Capoeira, theology, growing vegetables.
I want to dream big again. I just don’t know where to start.
Wide awake behind closed eyelids, the passion of rapidly firing neurons, flashes of thunderstorm-like consciousness, falling backwards into habits of uneasy dreams at the cutting edge of spiralling hummingbird thoughts and cherry blossoms settling down like moths at sunrise, the sweltering heat of a body-warmed woolen cocoon less comforting than the cold morning air creeping between layers of blankets and skin tingling with electricity.
Sparks of knowledge singing along the wires of nerves and peeling tree bark away until the raw bone-marrow becomes one with sleepy feet retracing icy lines of fleeting sun light, wandering low over the mind’s horizon – stillness of birds on telegraph wires between rooftops, whirring blue sparks recreating whole galaxies at the speed of light multiplied by pi and unfolding into one dimension for every constant and factor ever thought of.
Point of origin, branching out in the shape of a platypus; bloom and sun and winter all at once curling up in twisted ropes of chimney smoke, sky-bound paper ships attracted by singularities, a tidal wave of black holes at the bottom of a mind’s deep ocean, sea-turtle green and lagoon blue, the colours of the spectrum defining speed and amplitude, longitude being as uncertain as flight patterns of mosquitos and latitude as fleeting as bookpages turned, absentmindedly over a long cold cup of coffee.