Shakespeare, Goethe, Riener

27 Oct

Here I am. Sitting in the lovely Munich flat of a good friend, who has kindly offered me to stay for a few days. I came here for a work trip but decided to extend it by a couple of days to spend Day 1 (today) sight seeing, relaxing and Day 2 (tomorrow) with my family in nearby Nuremberg. I had a feeling I might want to write something, but not really sure.

What I had not foreseen when I was planning this trip was how vital this extra time would be. That I was heading full speed towards a crisis and without some down time and some soul cleansing, I would have soon ended up at the therapist. I might still go there, not sure yet.

A few months ago, see here, I discovered that I am a melancholic. To some that might not sound like something radical in itself, for me that was  profound and liberating and it has given me access to ‘my other half’ again, after more than 10 years. What do I mean with that? One side of me is rather extrovert, I am a stage hag, I like public speaking, karaoke and being the center of attention. But, there is also a much quieter, introvert part of me that likes withdrawal and reflection – and writing. Between the age of 9 and 20, I have found extreme pleasure through the pain of going deep into the underbelly of my emotional make up and dig around in my messy inner closet. Locking myself away and finding words to release them all were some of the most cathartic and spiritual moments I have gone through, and I would usually feel my soul and heart ‘cleansed’ afterwards. As a teenager I regularly took myself away from the huzzle and buzzle of party-life and spent nights on end writing away and crying my soul out. Some of these tears were sad tears but most of them were simply cleansing tears. And they served me very well.

I don’t know when and why it stopped but for the past 10 years, I had not written a single poetic word. Until last night. After a very intense 3 day conference, I decided to go and see Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour’. I knew it would be sad and powerful, but I had no idea with how much force it would rip me open inside and what floods would follow. Why was this suddenly happening? I knew that I had recently become a very frustrated, angry, tense, withdrawn and unhappy person. But I had not really spent any time thinking about why. I had tried to understand what made me feel so overwhelmed, uninspired, sad. Job, Life, take your pick, it was pretty much everything. As with everything in life, there are two sides to every story and I was constantly on the ‘not so shiny’ side of everything. And I knew that. But I had not gone that important next step further to ask why I was feeling that way. And as it occurred to me around 2am last night, there was nothing bad happening in my life at all. I was simply not allowing myself to see things for what they were. Because I was carrying all these mixed, raw, unprocessed and explosive emotions around with me, and everything that happened on top only added to that load and I could not get my head above it anymore.

But last night, the introvert, melancholic side of me decided it was too much. It literally slammed a hammer over my head, forced me to sit down and first of all read. The folder with all my written stuff had been sitting on my computer forever, but I had never looked at it. Then, last night I started reading and I can not express how that made me feel. I had forgotten the vast majority of my ‘early works’, and I was astonished to see that at the age of 15 I was feeling exactly how I was feeling now. Every word was a slap in the face. It was like looking into a very strange mirror. And I also started to remember how I used to feel afterwards. After all the words had been written. Then something very deep inside my belly started to rear and I decided to write again. For hours. All of a sudden, hundreds of words came pouring out of me, and after the first wave was over I sat still and literally went  ‘What the Fuck?!’. And then it occurred to me that I had not done this in 10 years, that I had not looked after and nurtured this huge part of my personality in a very long time.

And boy, do things look different today. I am much calmer, much more relaxed, at ease with myself. And ready to face the day again. And I feel much more like myself. It doesn’t actually matter what I wrote down – I will probably not even read these words again for a long time. It’s purely the process of writing that counts.

Why is this happening now? I am pretty sure that to some extent it is another step in the process of familiarizing myself with Germany and my German self again. After 3 days of hard core German conferencing, I realized that there was a mature German voice becoming louder and louder inside of me. A professional voice that for the past 7 years had only been speaking English. And being a language-kind-of-person, that of course made me wonder and I guess it touched on something deeper.

Then, I also managed to bump into a couple of people recently who 10-and-more years ago used to play a big role in my life, and I am sure that those encounters added to the urge to pull myself back into my old self again.

So there. The things that really got me down until yesterday haven’t changed. But I have cleaned out my internal closet, and made some space again. And that space is helping me getting some perspective and seeing things for what they are and myself for who I am and who I have become. And in a way it’s through the work of the introvert Fab that the extrovert Fab can have the fun that she is so good at having. God that’s cheesy. Give me some wine, anybody!

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