thoughts on a berlin morning

we sat by the canal drinking beer and eating blueberries, talking about the things we usually talk about, noticing the ways we’ve changed. there is grey in our hair.

i am sitting by a big window in an apartment with high ceilings in berlin. i have already written this but i lost it somehow and i cried before i tried to remember. berlin is very german. things it seems to have a lot of: smokers, italians, wheelchairs. things it has few of: smiles, sunshine, good wine.

it’s in the lingering fingers. running through my hair like water. pressing the bone at the back of my neck like a button. i am liking these moments because there is no directionanxiety. his fingers and my skin are not exclusive. i like the way i’m skimming from boy to boy, collecting lovers like souvenirs. there is more freedom is belonging to several than belonging to one.

when his fingers found the crescent line of my jaw, i threw an arm over my eyes and rolled over, leaving a hand still in his. because there was too much sunlight and it seems that i am still scared of being seen. perhaps this is why my mood ripens at night. i am brave in the dark.

a she from a long time ago invited me out clubbing last night but i couldn’t be bothered to deal with the anxiety of the unknown. i might regret the no because i’m almost thirty and when will i get the chance to go clubbing in berlin again? but i have regretted many things and none of them have broken me. we stayed in, drinking organic red wine and watching youtube videos. when i went to sleep at four am, they seemed bemused.

a someone is playing the piano is the apartment across the courtyard. the sky is still. the sun has ripped through after a grey morning. there is a smell of cheap cigarettes. and also croissants.

 

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Perception -or- Beautiful and Magnificent

Sometimes I listen to him so intently, I forget to do the poses. He talks for the entire hour -his voice low and raw, his eyes closed- about feeling the energy from our core to our tips. He ends every class by telling us that we are beautiful and magnificent. He fascinates me. This delicate Seal with his cocoa, elastic body and intense, brooding energy.

Today I put my mat at the back of the room and tried not to be distracted. But at some point we caught eyes and something happened. Neither of us looked away. He didn’t skip a beat, he kept talking, but his eyes did not flinch from mine. And mine didn’t drop his either. Around me, my fellow yogis were moving into the next position but I stayed, locked. I wasn’t thinking, I just couldn’t look away. He was looking at me without hesitation. His eyes cut through me. That’s why I couldn’t look away But what about him?

I pulled out my journal as soon as class ended and walked out writing, feeling pleasantly unsettled. I wrote down the mantra he instructed us to choose. Banish those negative thoughts- anxiety, depression, fear. What do you need? Repeat it to yourself. I am…

I am alive.
I am connected.
I am free.

I forgot about him on the way home because I had a heated discussion with my sister about pain. I am tired of defending my right to pain. She doesn’t understand how depression eclipses my life, or the weariness of staving it off. I tell her that just because I don’t advertise my daily struggle, doesn’t mean I don’t suffer. I tell her that many people have told me I am the happiest person they know, which is a sign of the marvellous mask I wear. It’s all about perception. 

Bali-boy reprimanded me yesterday when he told me I looked fine and I said, I know I look fine, but fine is not good enough for me. I want to look incredible. And he observed that I am always so sure of myself, and I should just accept a compliment. His observation perplexed me. How could I come across as so confident when I feel constantly crippled by self-doubt? It’s all about perception.

I went for a walk this evening. I wore little black shorts, a tank top, flip-flops. Clothes I never wear out side the house. The plan was to pop across the street and get an ice-cream. But when I stepped out onto the street, the summer night hugged me and I started walking. I felt good. I walked for half an hour. When I finally walked into the corner shop and asked for ice-cream, the Chinese geriatric giggled. We had a moment and then wished each other warm goodnights. I felt alive.

I stopped to take in the sky on the way back. The stars are unfamiliar here but I love them anyway. I felt connected.

Almost back home, three young men were loitering by the side of the road. One of them (hot) asked me for the time. I told him without slowing down, my voice cracking with a chuckle, because we all knew he didn’t need me to tell him the time. I felt good. It’s all about perception.

It occurred to me today that perhaps I ought to listen to myself less. That maybe, just maybe, I ought to believe who people think I am. It’s my own perception that is skewed. If I just remember to believe everyone else, I think I’ll be okay. I might be beautiful and magnificent. I might even be free.

Sky Dreamer

Do you get like that? That everyone out there is busy and living. I don’t understand why I feel like such a shell all the time. Is it normal to feel so empty so often? Even when I’m not depressed, it’s like my life is a room with too little furniture. Does that make sense? Is this just what it’s like to be Bipolar or depressed or an artist? 
 
I am in a city that felt like home within 24 hours. When you know, you know. And now I have been here for three weeks wondering how the days collected like dust.
 
I’ve been out for a few coffees and sometimes I wander through the shops but that is the extent of my life. I spend my days watching TV and trying to motivate myself to, you know, live. And then I stay up at night, anxious that I’m wasting my life, scared I will look back on my youth and wonder why I didn’t spend more time being young.
 
Today was a good day though. It’s amazing when you think about it. I didn’t do anything special. I just sat in the garden and wrote a few letters and did some laundry. What I mean to say is, it’s amazing how little we need to feel alive: fresh air and non-zombifying activities.
 
I was out for lunch last week with some friends of my mother’s. We stumbled across a charming vegan pop-up type shop called Lentil As Anything. I’m always excited by vegan eateries because I can choose anything on the menu without a second thought. I chose curry. He chose daal. She didn’t choose anything.
 
We chose a table indoors, sheltered form the sun, and admired the plain potpourri decor. It was colourful and rustic. Personality sans pretension. We started talking about various abstract concepts and I told them about me and the sky.
What about me and the sky? Well, last year I realised that I was all about the sky. I am always looking up, day or night and I feel like I am a moonchild. I feel like the sky is my garden, if that makes sense.
And then I told them about my fear of the ocean and how that made me think of the elements as realms. Those being: ocean: depth, beneath the subconscious, and earth: reality, grounded, and then the sky, the air: dreams and delusion and emotion.
Then I realised that my zodiac, Aquarius, is an air sign, and my initials spell out AER, and all this is utterly me: airy, elusive, dreamy. And it made sense that I didn’t feel at home on the ground and why the ocean scares me. The ocean is heavy. There is no freedom for humans in water. It is not our world. This is evident even with vision; underwater, you can only see only what is very near to you, what the ocean allows you to see; on land, you can see as far as your vision allows which follows logic, but in the sky, you can see for miles and miles (weather permitting). There is freedom in the sky. 
 
I was telling them all this and she looked me, a bit taken back, I think, and said, “How on earth did you come to that conclusion?”
And I said, “It’s just what I think about. Don’t you” I assumed that most people thought like this; that most thoughts looped in and out of each other like graceful knots. 
She laughed and said, “No! Never!”
 

We (me and him) talked about energy and mediation. He told me it was about controlling your thoughts as mine scattered and jumped, tumbling into words that interrupted him. She listened on. She couldn’t quite grasp the concepts. I told her it was okay, that she was earth, and that all elements are necessary. The earth people would dry out without the sky dreamers, and the sky dreamers would float off without the water babies, and so on. 
 
When it was time to go, we discovered that there were no prices; payment was at the discretion of the customer. Suddenly the memory of the average food became much sweeter. It was the energy of places like this that seduced me here, I’m sure. The energy of a city that is thriving, evolving, creative, alive. I think (I hope) that with each day I venture into Melbourne, the thousands of windows embedded in my skin will open one by one until light is pouring in and out of me freely. And then I won’t wonder all the time: how do most people think? Why is my mind such a mosaic? Why are simpler people happier? And, most importantly, why does my inquisitive, artistic mind act like the ocean when I want (need) to soar?
 
 

One-hundred and Ninety-six: Perfect

Tonight I shall shake dreams from my hair,
silver petals of memories I thought I’d buried.
I will paint papier mache scars with pearls,
petulant lips puckered up in a perfect pout,
just so I can excuse their avoidable existence.

Do you know braille? Can you count the lines
of failure on my skin without frowning?
It seems I like to build bars around me,
joking about emotional jails; as if to hurt
is to be weak, and to admit it is a crime.
If this is my sin, so be it. Why shouldn’t
I hit back at those that spit on me?
The perfect poise, the lady-like vowels
are poisoning a freedom I never realised
I wanted. How much straighter can a back get?
Such incessant guilt for flaws that I might
as well have something for confession.

But nothing is constant, not even pretending
to be perfect. The letters to my name change, so
every time you see me, you have to read me all over again.