Routine in the Apocalypse.

In early May, we performed our climate change show at a big conference — we had the biggest audience so far, and we feel like we also made the best version of the show so far. Now it’s four of us on stage, we worked really hard on preparing it, writing it, rewriting it, and particularly getting it cut down to one hour, because that was all the time we had at the conference. I’m happy to say that the result was very positive, we got great feedback from the audience, both on Twitter and in conversations, and there seems to be momentum now behind the project that may lead us to more gigs and, hopefully, also to some money, at some point …

A few weeks ago, Ian and I had a bit of an issue to work out, he was unhappy with his pay (which I can understand), but he framed it in terms that seemed really unfair (which I could not accept), and so that was a bit of a thing hanging between us, but we sorted it out in a conversation after he came back from a trip to see his parents. I’ve got the feeling that his new girl-friend may play a role in that issue as well, she’s quite pushy, I think, and she may have egged him on a bit. Well, I think we’ve sorted it for now.

The thing is that I need to find ways to get us capital for the projects we’re doing, that’s the key challenge for this year, other than getting the film done. The good news is that through a contact I got introduced to a very renowned film maker who seems to have a lot of projects going on. I had the chance to talk to him about both the climate change show and the documentary, and he seemed really into both. More specifically, he feels the need to work on more meaningful projects, because he seems to be more heavily focused on comedic work, and he wants to do more stuff that is about important issues. So for early June we now have scheduled a meeting with him and a colleague of his, and we’ll look at our project more closely, and Ian and I need to prepare a short film that presents what we have.

Gladly, Ian mostly spent the past weeks logging all our footage, I managed to transcribe the interview material with our two key protagonists, and so we should be able to put together something really cool by the time we meet with them. Anyway, the idea was to start a first rough edit of our film in June, that’s what we’ve been preparing for. So the first thing we’ll do now is to make a cut of some of our best material that we can then show those guys.

Dating-wise, I have spending more time with someone, J. We went on two dates, afterwards she seemed unsure about whether to keep going on (partly because she has a kid and a very busy life and doesn’t feel like she can make it all work out), but then that turned into a message exchange which finally led to us going out again, under the presumption that we would take things really slowly, and the night before last she came to my place, I cooked for us, and she spent the night (without us having sex, we didn’t go further than kissing).

The experience was a little weird for me, because I couldn’t help compare with F, and the vibe was just very different, physically it didn’t feel as comfortable right from the start as it did with her, and I felt more distant and less involved. But I am intending to give it time, and to not rush to conclusions, because I think J is a very cool person.

This afternoon, I’m going to a big demonstration against right-wing xenophobic politics, and she said she was going to come — and bring her kid!

My life does have a soothing routine to it, these days. I have my breakfast rituals that I am now following pretty much every day, I go to the office where I do my work, and it seems that I am finding a rhythm in life in ways that I haven’t really been able to for way too long. That is nice. At the same time, my awareness of the catastrophe that mankind is headed for — ecologically, socially, economically — is probably more acute than ever, and it is sometimes not easy to live a good life in a bad world.

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Back to Reality.

The catastrophe has been digested. My sleep has returned to normal — which I am very grateful for. That was the last thing that was still lingering … I am back to being the old me again, more or less.

That also means: I am, once again, an involuntary single and trying online dating. It’s not really happening, though. It’s not as enjoyable as it seemed last autumn. Then, there was an optimistic feeling attached to it. I can’t quite say why, but I was just confident that something good was going to come out of it. Well, it did, sort of. And then it ended really not good. And now I don’t know.

The experience with F left my with question marks: How involved and excited should I be after a first date? I wasn’t that keen after the first with her. It grew. Over time, and then very quickly. Now I go to dates, I am not overly excited, but I wonder: should I keep at it? For that later discovery? But then the women aren’t excited either, and so it does not go on … is that a reason then for me to be disappointed?

It’s confusing.

Last weekend, I went to see my parents. I got really sad again, it’s because with them, I can somehow not deal with the fact that I’m alone. It’s so sad, I want them to see me happy, and I want to enjoy my time with them, they’re not going to be around forever. So I leave them disappointed in myself …

Other than that, the band is happening. It’s evolving, and it’s fun. It’s turning into a really good thing. We’ve had two rehearsals with a drummer now. Good vibe.

The week before last I spent in Copenhagen, I was at the international documentary film festival, and got lots of inspiration — and confidence in our own film project. We’re on the right path, we just have to keep moving forward.

Ian and I have redesigned our collaboration. We’re now focusing on deadline rather than working hours in the office. I have the hunch that this might be a better approach.

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Six Online-Dates in Five Days.

On Wednesday, I met I. She was pleasant and interesting, and we had dinner for three hours, and that was that.

On Thursday, I met S. She was unpleasant and annoying, and I couldn’t wait for dinner to be over, and neither could she, and it took a little under two hours.

On Friday, I met R. She was interesting and pleasant, and we first had a drink, and then went to a concert, and I thought she was interested, and I told her the next day by text message that I wasn’t and she responded that she wasn’t either.

On Saturday in the afternoon, I met F. We’d spoken on the phone a couple of times, and she was sweet and we sat closely on a sofa in a smoker’s bar, and I thought I could and would like to kiss her.

On Saturday evening, I met V. She was an amazing and brilliant and beautiful tall slender woman, and I let her talk about her work, mostly, but we talked about other things, too, and I would quite like to see her again, but I don’t know if she would, and I felt a little small, which I shouldn’t.

Late that night, I was texting with F and then talking to her on the phone, and it was clear that we were interested in each other, physically …

This afternoon, I met A. She was interesting an pleasant, and that was that.

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It’s Been Over A Month Now.

And things are better. I don’t think about F all the time anymore. I have made much progress moving on. Sometimes, she’s in my thoughts again, and there’s pain and anger and sadness. But I get over these spells.

The only thing that remains evasive: a good night’s sleep. Can’t get it. I always wake up after about five hours, and then have trouble sleeping again. That’s really hard because if there was one thing I used to be able to count on, it was that I could always sleep, no matter what. I take a lot of energy from my (usually) good night’s sleep.

And the fact that that’s still disrupted shows that the thing with F ran deep.

Online dating plays a big part in helping me these days, though. I haven’t met anyone new yet. And I secretly wonder if I should — yet. But it distracts me and slightly relieves my pain point of “I’m never going to meet anyone again”. But it’s becoming a bit of an obsession as well. Constantly checking the phone — did someone answer, did someone respond? I have actually managed to organise four dates this week! One would have been tonight, but the woman had to cancel — she’s ill, we postponed to Sunday. There’s three more on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

Last night, I spoke to a woman on the phone who I think may be the most interesting of them all, even though I don’t have a date with her yet. Someone with a kind of quiet strength. Someone who uses interesting words to describe things. Someone with a mind of her own. And who is, according to the two photos I’ve seen, very pretty. We had a conversation for about an hour. And I remain intrigued. After the call, I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time. I hope to talk to her again this week. Not sure when I will meet her in person.

Ian and I spent the last week in Rome again. Our last long trip there, to shoot for our film. Rather than staying with the people we used to stay with, we now stayed with other friends, Sara and Alberto. Sara is the personal assistant of our protagonist in Rome, and they were super sweet to put us up. We got some more great material also, and I am convinced that we now have the stuff we need to make this film. We will of course need to shoot additional material — but now we have covered the main parts: the lives of our protagonists over the course of a year. The only thing that bothered me was my lack of sleep again this past week — it did have an impact on my wellbeing during the day. I was not quite myself.

With Ian, things went very well. He’s very much in love with his new girl-friend (he found her through Tinder), and he’s always on the phone with her, either whatsapping, or calling — which is sometimes bothering me, because of what just happened to me. But that’s not his fault, so I’m keeping my mouth shut. And the collaboration is really moving in the right direction, and I am very glad to have him as my “partner in crime”.

On the way back from Rome, the car (the car) broke down north of Munich. It couldn’t supercharge anymore, so we had to leave it and switch to a rental. It worked out ok, we made it back all right. And today I found out that the damage will be covered by the guarantee, still. So all’s good.

One more thing that’s noteworthy: On Friday a week ago, I had an appointment. With an escort. In other words, with a hooker. It was supposed to happen between 5 and 9 pm, the afternoon/evening before we were going on our Rome trip. And it would have been quite expensive, for my taste. But it also felt right to pay that kind of money for that kind of thing. I thought this might be a way of erasing most of my memory of the last sexual encounter with F, or rather: overwriting it. I was curious if I would be able to have sex with a woman whom I would meet — and pay — for only that purpose. And I had mixed feelings about it until the very end. And then it didn’t happen: On the website, you have to enter a hotel and room number where you’re staying and where you’re meeting her, and also provide your check-in time. I gave fake information because I thought I live here, so why do I need a room in a hotel? But the website administrators actually checked up on this and then called me and asked about my check-in. When I said I’d given wrong information and have no room because I live here, the guy checked back with her (they’re the clearing house, so to speak), and then got back to me to say that she wouldn’t go to a private home, and that hotels provide the women a measure of security. I understood, and I actually appreciated the mechanism and that they do it this way. But that way, the encounter was cancelled.

And I don’t think I’m going to try again. It just didn’t feel right in the end. On the one hand, I was disappointed. On the other, somewhat relieved. I think I am just not the person who does that kind of thing.

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These are the weeks of …

… things being over with F.

Little sleep — 4, 5, sometimes 6 hours per night.

Roller coaster ride of emotions.

I am watching “The Bridge”, mainly.

I am working. Just barely.

I finally received my keys and a letter today, in the post. Things are so very over. And she is sweet and warm-hearted and caring about it, if that’s even possible.

Weeks of me, reeling.

Yesterday I met people I might form a band with. A little ray of light? Maybe.

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It’s Over.

Last Sunday, when pushed because of distant communications behaviour while I was travelling, F broke up with me: “I am not enough in love.”

I am reeling. Not understanding. Angry. Very angry. Disappointed.

Fucking bullshit.

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Whirlwind.

It’s the middle of January, and the last three months are hard to describe. They were intense.

My relationship with F went through some pretty radical ups and downs. One of the best things was that we went on a road trip to France together, for six days, in early November. It was incredibly harmonious, fun, interesting, relaxing, inspiring, … it was a very good trip. But it was intense, too. Spending 24 hours, every day all day, together, after having met only a few weeks before, that’s intense. Yet I would have said that it brought us even closer together. That is what it felt like during the journey.

But then things went into a different direction: After the trip, for both of us a period of incredibly high work intensity began. From the middle of November until the middle of December, I had to work very hard on a number of things: two fairly long and tiring trips for our film project (one to South Korea), plus some work here at home on our climate change show, I also got ill for a few days (including one evening when we were actually performing the climate change show, I muscled through), and then I worked very hard on an application for funding for the climate protection NGO. And in all of this there’s always the undercurrent of dread and fear that I carry around with me, about the state of the world, and that I let bleed into F’s life, way too early for the little that we knew of each other. At the same time, F had her own issues to worry about — as a freelance artist, she has a lot of doubt about the direction she is headed in, she is insecure about her path, plus she had to work incredibly hard, juggling a number of jobs at the same time, and she was suffering from a depressive spell. And so she was withdrawing into her life to somehow handle it all. And as she was pulling away, I became needy, feeling her slip, wanting her more, while at the same time dropping all of my emotional baggage on her living room floor … There was no fighting, there wasn’t any falling-out, but we weren’t on a good path. Finally, about a week before Christmas she called for a break, and for a time-out. And said she couldn’t feel this relationship anymore.

Christmas then was bleak, I had imagined it very differently, but now it was very much coloured and shaped by my thinking about her and us, and trying to keep my calm, and maintaining my distance. In addition, my mother was not well over Christmas, and so it was not a fun affair at the end of last year. When I returned to the city after Christmas, I thought that it would get easier, when I would be back in my home. But it wasn’t, it got a lot worse, I started to positively obsess over the whole matter, trying to wrap my head and heart around what had gone wrong, and what she might be feeling and thinking, one minute being self-confident in what we had between us, the next despondent and utterly depressed about something incredibly wonderful that now seemed to be slipping through my fingers. It was hard, really really hard. I relied on three friends, Nana, Kal and Rum, to help me through my days, calling them several times per day, needing them in my frustration and in my pain. And I spent New Year’s Eve party-hopping with Ian, who’s also a good friend to share a thought with.

The one thing I did manage to do, in all of this, was to keep my distance. I left her the space she wanted, and did not show much (if any) of my turmoil.

And then, after the new year, we began to approach each other again. It started with a long evening in a bar, having drinks and just talking. Not about our issues, just chilling out. And then, a few days later, she came to my place, to talk through her “work worries” together, and see how I could help with those. And that turned into a completely magical evening and night, we were up until 6, and it was amazing. And I feel that now we’re on a much better path than we were on before all of this happened.

Part of it has to do with my own understanding of what went wrong on my end. It’s two things. One, over Christmas I realised that I am sick of tired of carrying the weight of the world around on my shoulders. It’s insane, I cannot live like that, I won’t, and it has to stop. Even more so, because I am already dedicating pretty much my entire professional life to trying to effect change, and be a force of good. If that is what I am doing on a daily basis, I have the fucking right to stop obsessing over climate change and the insanity of our global economic system in the evenings, on weekends, when I am with F. And secondly, I realised that she needs and wants a strong shoulder. I wasn’t that towards the end of last year. I was needy and small. So I need to make a much stronger effort to be upright, and strong. Which I can. And it doesn’t mean that I cannot feel weak sometimes, and overwhelmed, or need help. But it concerns more my general outlook in life with her. Do I walk into her life small and needy, or with an attitude of “we can do this together”? Realising these two things was very helpful.

It doesn’t mean that I always get it right — I am only human, after all. But I am trying, and I know what I need to do. And we’ve had some incredibly beautiful moments in these past weeks, which I am very happy about and grateful for.

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