I think I’m getting there, finally. After months of uncertainty and doubt and worries and frustration, I am now finally seeing the path before me. I never expected that the road to a new life would be this tough to travel – particularly considering that there are no economic worries and no other “objective” problems that bother me. But problems are subjective, and just because judging from the outside it seems like you should have a magnificent life doesn’t mean that you will. Happiness happens internally, not because the outside thinks you ought to be happy.
There are two things I will do from now on, and they work hand in hand and complement each other. For one, I will keep working on the political issues that concern me and that I am worried about. By continuously reading and then writing on my (other) blog, I can be engaged in political discussion and in the thinking and learning about what is going wrong in the world. And out of that, I am producing a show together with my new friend Maik, who’s a journalist, about where the world is headed, and how we – as responsible citizens – can respond in our daily lives to the challenges that humanity is facing. This respects to my need to do something for my conscience and to try and feel like I am doing something worthwhile with my life.
And then, I will produce and direct films. It sounds a little grandiose – but I found out that I’m actually good at this. In the past months, a small team of people – which I have joined essentially through my involvement with the Berlin English language Improv scene – has started working on a comedy short film, and I’ve grown into a producer / director role within that project. And it’s not only that I enjoy doing these things, but more particularly that I feel like I’m actually good at them. I understand both what it takes to run a project like this (I’ve been managing things and people for years, after all, and that helps me now), and how visual storytelling in the medium works. I can have informed debates about it, and justify creative choices. And in Ian, an English musician turned camera man, I have found a really great partner to make these things happen with. We work really well together, and we have a list of ideas already that we’d like to make happen.
So I will be, or better: I am, a media producer and director of sorts, both within the context of my political work, and within the context of my film work. Making it clear and phrasing it like this allows me, for the first time, to properly understand what I am, or who I am, professionally now and for the foreseeable future. And that is incredibly helpful. It enables me to finally leave this vague bubble of uncertainty and enter a much more defined mental space, with boundaries (we all need boundaries!) and a more or less specific realm of activity.
This last weekend actually provided the last building block for this concept of myself. I went to visit Lynn, a film maker whom I met months ago through a family connection. I’d met with her a couple of times in the city where she lives (on the Western end of Germany), she’d been to Berlin for the Berlinale, we’d also met then, and we also had a few phone calls in between, to discuss a documentary film project that we want to do together. I spent Friday evening and all of Saturday with her (and returned to Berlin on Sunday morning). And it was incredible helpful to spend so much time talking to a creative mind who thinks in similar terms, but then also has a very different point of view based on a very different personal history. On Saturday evening, she took me to a dance performance. I would have never considered going to anything of the sort, and the experience was incredibly inspiring. It was actually there and then that I realized what my role is within the political show project. I’d spent months talking to Maik and other people involved in the project, always feeling slightly insecure about what my specific role in the project is. Maik, after all, is a journalist, and so naturally it would be his role to think helm the journalistic content side of things. I have very specific ideas of things that I want to talk about, but at the same time if we had to distribute roles (and we do have to, at some stage) it’s clear that Maik’s role is the one of editor in chief of our project. So what is my role? And as I was watching the dance performers do their thing on Saturday night, at some point I suddenly realized that I needed to be concerned about the actual show quality of our work — of making sure that people would come to our event and not just say “oh that was interesting”, but rather say “fucking hell, what was that, that was amazing!” And so it turns out, while Maik is Chief Editor, my role is that of a Creative Director or Art Director. It’s a bit scary because I have no training in that field, but at the same time it’s incredibly inspiring and liberating.
The weekend with Lynn was not only interesting because of this. It was interesting, inspiring, fun, funny, and all kinds of things in many ways. On Saturday night after the show, we came home and spent hours on the sofa, watching films, and talking, and eating, until 5 in the morning when the sun was up, and … there were some moments when I was wondering if this wasn’t the moment when I should try and kiss her, but I didn’t, and I am a bit concerned about this, well, maybe not, … I think now that the weekend is over, I am slowly but surely falling in love with her … From a distance. And a little voice inside me says it’s good that this is happening incredibly slowly, because she has some hurt and fear inside her, and so do I, and we also have complicated lives (she has a small daughter, with her ex), and we live 500 km apart. But I want to keep pursuing this because I just like to think of her now, and something felt very close and warm about the weekend. Even though nothing “happened”, as they say.
And another nice thing was that at the beginning of last week, I spent three days in Italy, with my friend Pac. Months ago, he had invited me to go to a concert with him on Tuesday, and so I had planned a little three-day trip, and he took Tuesday off, and we hung out, and talked a lot. It was incredibly helpful to spend time with him. He is both funny and wise, in some ways that are hard to explain, and he is a much more relaxed and much calmer person than me, much less stressed. And spending time with him, and being exposed to his very different way of being greatly helped me reevaluate some of the things I do and think in life, and I came back from that trip already a slightly changed person.
I am very grateful to both Pac and Lynn, for having had this effect on me and my life during these past few days.