After Sicily and Berlin: A Piece of Christmas Wisdom.

sicily

In early December, I went to Sicily for a week. It was a strange visit. Just days before, I had launched my new political project, so I was still all engrossed in it, in its consequences, in the feedback it was receiving, in what it means for my life. Also, my host K was a little strange — initially I had thought that something might happen between us, if only a fling, something for this holiday. But she ended up being strangely distant. Not sure why. She also had much less time for me than I thought she would. All in all, it was a weird week.

Then, during the two weeks between that trip and the Christmas break, I was constantly traveling, too. I went to Munich to take care of things, and go to my old company’s Christmas party. I also went to my parents, to work with my father on the new rooms in the country house. I went to see my cousin at the other end of the country. I also finally may have found an apartment that I can buy. And then as everyone was getting ready to go home for the holidays, the attack with that truck happened in Berlin. And I was mad. Not at the lunacy of the idiotic terrorist. There is no point in getting angry at people who want to make you angry. But angry at the media, and at how they’re playing the terrorists’ and the Right Wing Scare Mongerers’ (who are, of course, in cahoots with them) games. I complained about it on the web and got some surprisingly strong support.

These past days, over Christmas, I’ve been with my parents. And for the first time in many years, a lonely visit at my parents’ place for Christmas has not been a problem. I think I have made a breakthrough. I understand now that life is ultimately about one thing, and one thing only: it’s about our connections with other people. Nothing else. And so I can manage to celebrate my connection with my parents this Christmas. Nothing more, nothing less. Christmas used to make me sad because I felt like I was not bringing them what they could (and maybe should) expect from me: a family of my own, and children who enjoy the magic and the miracle of Christmas, like I used to. But this year, I am no longer thinking of that. Instead, I am realizing that my job is to be with them, and to enjoy that, and to make them see that I am enjoying that. That’s all.

This is a good thing. This is a good Christmas. Despite all the fear and idiocy in the world.

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A New Project.

I have a trajectory now. A plan. A purpose. A direction.

And that is such a good thing.

The Trump election really messed with me. Like it did with many people. And it did one thing in particular: it yanked me out of this idea that it will be fine if I just do my art stuff and try to be an artist kind of person, who makes his political statements in a more abstract kind of way.

First of all, that was not something that felt quite right to me anyways. And second, I knew that I had to be more political. And I didn’t feel comfortable not being as actively involved as I should be.

But that’s over now. The fight for our democracies has begun. And it’s not just right-wing populists who threaten to break them apart. It’s definitely the economic system that has spun out of control. The social divide seems to be the real issue.

I used to be completely ignorant about it. And I am going to change that. I have free time, boundless amounts. And I will use this free time to read, learn, understand. I will record my own mental development publically, on the web, and I will develop it further by building a public approach to presenting it, and going on a road-show next summer, in time for our national elections. I want to bring an educated discourse that people will actually enjoy and want to engage in to the streets, literally.

It’s tough. I used to shy away from all the hard political issues, the things I felt powerless about. Now I will need to attack them fully, frontally. I am still a little afraid. But I will do it.

Today I bought three new books. I am currently reading one, a second is already in the pipeline. Tomorrow I will start my new blog.

Other than that? I am sometimes very lonely. Online dating sucks massively. Women don’t answer, or they cancel dates at the last minute. I decided to just stop the bullshit. That’s just not for me. Fuckit.

But I am well, health-wise. That’s good news. I’ve been unwell for years, basically. So that is a good change.

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The Nightmare.

It came true.

America did it.

This past week, I have been losing sleep over this.

I am scared.

What is going on?

I hope people all around the world will finally realize and wake up to the fact that we need to FIGHT for our democracies. We must stop taking them for granted.

Many more personal things happened this past week, too. Nana came to town. Thanks to her, I found a new home where I’ll live from the end of the year onwards, in a shared flat with two women. I am looking forward to this, I am sure it will be interesting. And I like that I will no longer be alone all the time.

Also, the story with the French woman ended. We had a coffee where I asked some questions, and it became quite clear that she’s just not that interested. And that was a good thing. First I felt sad, but then relieved afterwards.

My friend Steve recommended that I travel a bit, to get away from the sadness and the Berlin winter. And so I spontaneously booked a flight to Sicily, to go see K there as well. She has often invited me to stay at her place, now I took her up on it. I’ll bring my drawing computer, and I’ll stay for a week.

This past week, I was almost going to buy my dream flat, in a fairly complicated transaction that would take way too much time to explain here, but then that deal fell through, the background of which would also take too much time to explain.

And that was one reason that prompted me to find a new home, spontaneously.

I published my first animated cartoon a little over a week ago. So far, it has received 1,500 views. Not so bad. But, I’ll be honest, I am also a little disappointed. I was hoping for more.

I am healthy again, I think. The bad taste in my mouth that had been plagueing my for quite some time went away as quickly as it had come. That’s good news.

I am trying to help some refugee support initiatives, but I cannot quite get the momentum going. But I’ll keep at it.

And what does all of this matter if Trump starts practicing isolationism, Putin starts invading in Baltic countries, Le Pen wins the election in France, and we end up with war in Europe?

Like I said: I am scared.

Posted in Film, Friendship, Politics, Relationship, Travel | Tagged , , , , , ,

An Overall Sense of Unease and Worry.

It’s Satuday afternoon, I’m sitting on the sofa in the small apartment that I am renting from Drew. Yesterday, we finally finished my first animated cartoon, I had done the sound myself, but he helped me mix and master it. I’ll start sending it around and publishing it next week. I think the end result turned out quite well.

Tomorrow, I’ll see her again. It will be the third time now. She was away for a while, but before her trip we met once more, for another dinner (at which she had a pretty bad cold). After that, we returned to the more slowly paced email communication, even though, in part, we’ve also moved to communicating on WhatsApp, and now I’m unhappy again because she hasn’t answered my latest message(s) from last night. I also sent her the link to my film (with a password), hoping she’d look at it and tell me what she thinks. But she hasn’t even opened the message. I am not good at this game.

She’s had an unexpected impact on my life also, because she’s very interested in fairly complex ideas about human cognition and quantum physics. I’ve not quite gotten the hang of what she is exactly interested in, or what her thoughts are, but I started reading some of the things related to what she’s been talking about, and I have already learned some quite interesting things about the debates concerning our systems of mental processing, and how they are different from (or not) computers.

What’s really been bothering me lately is that I’ve been having a weird taste in my mouth. Sounds a little strange, I thought at first that it would go away by itself, but when it didn’t after a number of weeks, I decided to go see doctors about it. Yesterday I went to a dentist, the day before to my general practitioner. Both couldn’t really find anything. Not sure what it is. And it really has an impact on my life. When you constantly have a weird taste in your mouth, it really affects you, and it definitely also affects your eating, changing the taste of things.

What I am also still struggling with is an overall sense of unease and worry. It’s not really directed at anything in particular (even though I’ve had somewhat apocalyptical nightmares at least twice), it’s got to be a combination of loneliness, uncertainty about the way my life should be going, and anguish at everything that is breaking around the world. I read yesterday morning that experts predict that we’ll have externimated two thirds of all wildlife by 2010. I am not sure how to just go on living, knowing this kind of thing. It’s just absolutely dreadful to be thinking about things like that. And what can I do about it? Travel to the jungle and single-handedly kill poachers? Going back to Normal still has not yet been accomplished, I think. That’s also due to my uncertainty about finding a home here in the city. I have found an apartment that I really want (and many that I don’t), but there are some legal issues, and the owners are a little complicated, and so there is no telling if or when this will ever happen. And everything else I am seeing is pretty crappy. It’s not fun.

I wish I was nearly as happy as my life is well. I have no concerns or worries. Yet I am not happy.

And I wish I’d stop thinking that she isn’t answering my message because last night she fell for some guy she’s just met, and because she thinks I’ll just be a very good friend.

I’ll go running now. I hope I’ll be a bit more cheerful after that.

 

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Improv Theatre & Unrequited Love.

Overall, life is remarkably good. I am developing my new little business, slowly but surely. I am seeing a lot of friends, discovering old ones, finding new ones. I am healthy (despite some minor troubles, which doctors tell me are nothing to worry about, though), and I go running twice a week. I am planning a very interesting event for the fall, with a friend. I’ve had a bit of a slump with my drawing projects, but I’m getting out of it again. I rediscovered my electric guitar. My parents are well. They are ageing, but they are well.

And nowadays, I have a new project on Monday nights. I’ve joined an English language Improv Theatre class. It goes on for 8 weeks, and we’ve done three nights so far. It’s a really interesting way to creatively have fun with a bunch of people you’ve never met before. Last time, we went for drinks with a few of them, for the first time since we started. I think I’m by far the oldest in the group, but I may still find some friends among them. It’s nice!

The only thing not so nice: about a couple of weeks ago, I fell into a minor bout of depression. I met this French woman through a dating site, and she’s amazing. Creative, an artist, extremely articulate, beautiful, interested, interesting, really cool. We spent five hours together. But since then it seems impossible to meet up again, she answers emails with days of delay, she’s extremely busy (apparently), and my lacking self-confidence in all things dating somehow came back out (I thought at some point in the past that I’d overcome that, but there it was, lurking in the dark shadows again), and I get so disappointed. I think I want to too much, too fast, I am not patient, and I am not strong enough to simply say “if she doesn’t want to continue this conversation and discovery, her loss!” Well. I need to get my act together, and realize how amazing my life is, and live it to its fullest, and not worry about a single person who may or may not deserve to spend more time with me.

Yesterday, I drove over to my cousin’s, at the other end of the country, because Steve’s latest theatre project is being put on stage here now. It’s a really important project for him, he has been pouring all his energy into it for weeks and months, and last night was the dress rehearsal, and my cousin, his wife and I had the chance to see it. It pretty much blew us away, it’s super intense, and I am convinced that this will be a success story for the whole team. On Saturday (day after tomorrow) is the premiere, I’ll have the chance to see that, too.

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Two Milestones and An Old Enemy.

Last weekend, as I was returning from a run in the neighbourhood and walking back to the house, I decided that from now on I was going to refer to myself as an artist. That sounds like a strange thing to say, but to me it’s kind of a big deal. I’ve spent years now struggling with my professional identity — increasingly frustrated by the fact that I was working in marketing, and with marketing people, and not working on things that are more meaningful or self-fulfilling. Before I made the decision, I had spent a few days making very good progress on my hand-drawn animation projects, developing things that I felt were really interesting, and that do have some artistic value, and that might resonate with people. And so I thought that in order to fully become what I intend to be, I had to change my own label for myself, or rather finally give myself a clear label, and start believing in its accuracy.

So after I’d returned, I went to the professional networking websites that I have profiles on, and I changed my profession. That was my first milestone.

The other milestone was last Tuesday evening, when I suddenly discovered that I had some free time before meeting a couple of friends, and that I could spend that time going out running. That doesn’t sound too earth-shattering, but to me it was kind of a big deal. I’ve spent years frustrated by the fact that I was not exercising enough, and exercise had always seemed like this bitter pill that I had to take even though I didn’t want to, yet it was good for me. But I simply wouldn’t take enough of it, because … well, it’s a bitter pill! There was too much struggle and stress in my life already, why add the additional stress of cutting out time to just be running around, being stressed again? So finding myself one late afternoon, thinking “how about I just go for a run”, was, therefore, a really nice change. Changing my life, calming down, doing more things that are of intrinsic value to me … apparently all of this is giving me more peace of mind, and that peace of mind allows me to appreciate exercise as something positive and nice.

These are massive milestones. In the past decade (or so), I gradually stopped believing that I could find an activity that really draws me in, and allows me to forget time, and really feels fulfilling. And yet I have apparently already found it (working on my animation movies) — so much so that I believe it justified to change what I call my profession. And secondly, during that same time span I have started thinking that exercise to me will always be a big struggle, and yet here I am, a few weeks into my new life, and I am already exercising spontaneously, and because it’s something that feels good.

The old enemy is my hypochondria. I have something again that is bothering me, a pain in a rather private part, and even though I’ve had similar things in the past, and they always turned out to be nothing, I am bothered by it, and it worries me, and takes happiness away. So my hypochondria is apparently not yet going away … Who knows, maybe it will one day, too.

P.S.: I actually completely forgot this when I posted it earlier today: another quite remarkable change in my better life now is that I cook all the time now! I used to never cook at home (or only rarely something really limited, like cook pasta with ready-made pesto), but now I have started to regularly prepare my own food these days. That is even more remarkable than my new exercise habits. Admittedly, it’s not crazy cool stuff, it’s mainly some type of scrambled egg with various vegetables added, or I’ll grill a piece of meat, but I’m getting there. My sliced and fried potatoes are really good, actually!

Posted in Art, Food, Health, Sports

Louis CK live in Copenhagen.

I spent my last weekend in Copenhagen. On the day of Nana’s birthday (who was and still is in Greece), I flew to Copenhagen because that night Louis CK was performing live at the Forum, and I’d bought the tickets months ago, when I was in Barcelona. I’d always liked him, and have been intrigued by his work for a long time — even though I never really laugh (out loud) about his jokes. It’s more that I enjoy his perspective on the world, and the way he thinks. And so this was a cool opportunity to see him in the flesh.

My stay in Copenhagen was overall nice, but had a blue undertone to it. One of the things that struck me in Copenhagen was how incredibly many very beautiful women seem to be everywhere. It was quite amazing. But I felt so disconnected, and seeing so many pretty faces made me feel even more lonely than I usually do. I felt that despite all of these amazing women being all over the city, there was somehow no way for me to be with someone like that. There were actually two occasions where a little courage on my behalf might have yielded something, but I did not have the courage, and so it didn’t happen. I saw this one girl on the crosswalk, and kind of had to look twice to realize how pretty she was. And then she looked, too, and saw me. And I kept walking, and then at some point I turned around, and just wanted to see her once more, and she looked, too. And I kept walking towards this one restaurant that I wanted to check out, and a considerable ways away from her, I looked over towards where she must be walking, and she was looking, too. So … what? What does on do? Do I stop in my tracks, wave, and walk over some 150 m and start a conversations, along the lines of “I’m spending the evening by myself, until I’m going to the Louis CK show, would you like to have a drink with me?” I guess someone with balls could. Would. I didn’t. And I thought about this missed opportunity for the rest of the weekend. And then at the show, I arrived very early, and there was this woman whom I’d seen by herself in a restaurant across the street before, and when I arrived there wasn’t really anyone else in the rows where we were both sitting. She was sitting a little ways away, but I could have come up with some excuse to walk over and talk to her, and there was also a bit of eye contact. Well, again I didn’t.

I need to do something about these situations. I really do.

The show was fun. There were four supporting acts who all did their bits for about 5-7 minutes (which were not really convincing, mostly), and then Louis CK came on. And during his show (which went on for some 90 minutes, plus a little encore!) I finally understood what this is about. Not about out loud laughing, and a belly-ache from laughter. But rather about a man who presents an incredibly compelling mix of sheer racconteur’s storytelling talent, a very unique view of the world, a powerful stage presence, an accute political mind, and some very crude sexual observations (the last part is always the things I enjoy the least, just not my thing). But it was good to be there. It gave me new motivation to think about and work with a stage programme.

The next day, I did some more major hanging out and chilling, and then flew back to Berlin.

This past week, I had another online date, again to no avail, it ended with “we’ll be seeing each other” from her as she left. I finished my animation film, and now really need Drew to make the sounds for it. I am kind of pestering him about it … It’s a bit of a strange situation. I may be getting closer to buying an apartment, something nice is in reach. I went to Munich for a couple of days, for work. Which was ok. I may help a new start-up get off the ground, and even invest in it.

And I feel lonely these days. I have this strange mix of feelings and thoughts — on the one hand, I feel like I really need to dig into this new world of artistic expression that I am now building for myself, and figure out how to make that work for me. And then within this world, I will find a likeminded person, someone who will really help me have a complete and good life. But I have absolutely no patience for that, and just keep clicking through Tinder, and hoping for something exciting to happen NOW. Tinder is really weird, out of the matches I get (and I get very few), only about 20% even bother to write back to me. I don’t understand why people right-swipe but then don’t want to answer?

I’m going to my therapist next week, hoping she can help me get my chin up a little higher.

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