After almost a year’s absence from my lovely piece of internet here, I now announce my return. A solid return, made of sticks and mud and grains of sand that glue everything together for all of eternity. I cannot believe it has been so long since I put my words to screen, but there it is. One whole year.
I love how every year, around October and right on time, I hear myself remarking at just how close Christmas is. Just how unbelievable it is that another year has passed. I hear myself saying this, like some sort of strange Groundhog Day echo that rings through every year since I was young enough to care that time passes as it does. Time just slaps you on the butt without mercy or consideration for your potential to bruise like a peach from a mere change in wind. Slightly surprising and extremely aggravating. So many tiny, insignificant events compile into a year and at the end of it all you can’t really be sure as to what you got. What did you achieve? Did you grow?
The years pass and the small moments in between we inevitably forget! They smush together like a snowball and those moments and years become a general time that is then remembered as a general era of our lives.
We long for those lost eras. We long for moments within them that we aren’t actually able to identify. What did it feel like to sit and have an awkward coffee date for the third time out of sheer desperation to find love? What did it feel like to find love, that initial moment of awe at the luck that has come your way? That pain that aches in you at the memory of a thoughtless act or a stray unkind, cutting word. How did it feel to have those worries that seem just so insignificant now?
Well, like clockwork around October of last year, sitting in a (surprisingly) sunny classroom on the fifth floor of a building in central Berlin, I announced just how close we were to Christmas. How unbelievable was it that another year had passed? My eyes rolled out of my skull at how I forgot, again, to stop saying this.
Early last year I took off on an adventure which at first landed me in the Philippines. I spent a month exploring, swimming, riding scooters without prior knowledge that I should never, ever ride scooters and drinking beer watching the sun set over views of pretty things. I was on my way to doing something I had always dreamed of doing, and have even spoken a little bit here about doing. I was moving to Europe, to Berlin specifically, to follow my dream. Oh man. What a cliché. Fuck it.
The Philippines provided me with this small pocket of time in which I could process what I had just done. Leaving my family, my friends. My job. My sky-blue, basketed vintage bike. My favourite sandwich at my favourite place to eat and drink wine and read and think. Leaving my best friend in our home, with our cat. Half my wardrobe. Truthfully, much more than half. My surfboard. My all of everything. I left it. While lying like a pancake atop crystal blue waters I could ignore the fact that I had just taken the leap into the unknown. That deep abyss. You see, this was not just moving my life, it was admitting that I was going to take a step toward a dream I have had all my life. A dream I took for granted, that was too big and terrible to even look in the eye. Here it goes! And it’s still going- more on that later.
By the time I arrived in Milan, only having sustained the most minor of injuries from my misguided scooter attempts, I was on the conveyor belt that I had set myself up for. All my life I have studied music and dreamed of coming to Europe to become a professional opera singer. It sounds weird when most of the kids my age were truly keen on being Britney Spears the Sequel. Alas, here I was, aged 9 and dreaming of my diva years as a 40-year-old woman dripping in costume jewelry, tripping over a gigantic gown onto a stage hosting a full piece orchestra. I was an interesting child. Europe had always been in my mind as the place I wanted to fulfil that. As I limped through the arrival hall at Malpensa Airport, I was faced with what that actually meant. Terrifying. To me, at least.
I spent the rest of the year doing what I loved and doing things that absolutely scared the shit out of me. I performed in two different Puccini operas in both Vienna and Berlin. I sang for agents, I sang for conductors who ripped me to absolute shreds and built me back up again. I sang in old, beautiful concert halls and I faced colleagues and new friends who all hold such incredibly inspiring talent and passion. I showed myself that I could make the first step and dip my toe into a life that was almost at fairytale impossible status. It was a start. A small start, but a start at that.
At the end of all the bustle and moving and packing and unpacking of bags, I finally settled in Berlin. This was an entire saga in itself of finding apartments, dealing with unimaginable German bureaucracy and having to use my German to understand a tax system that could honestly have been in any language except for that of which humans speak. I was so shocked in the end at how easy it was to make a life. I got a day job to support my dream job. I started making friends and brick by tiny brick, puzzling together a puzzle of what my life was going to be for now.
Don’t ask me where I will be living in six months. Or even four months for that matter. It may be London, it may be Vienna it may be still Berlin (I sincerely hope). Strangely enough where I am living is not really a concern. What I do know now is that the myriad of things I am going to be trying for are ticking towards me and here I am in 2018 still making a go of it. Yes! Yes? Yes.
Last year I learnt a lot about daring to take the first step. Though I took so many of them, I must say that on the other side it doesn’t get any less scary. It doesn’t get cosy. But right now I’m not really in life for comfort. Comfort is for when I retire and/or lose my wits. Whichever comes first. I wanna run and fall to scrape knees only to get back up and make another ridiculous decision. If I’m not a bruised and battered old bat at age 80, I will be sorely disappointed.
With that, here are my intended ‘resolutions’ for this year. Let’s call them intentions.
- Do the splits. Most people who have had one conversation/looked in my direction know that this has been a lifelong pursuit. I will drop into the deepest of splits in 2018. It’s my year, I feel it.
- So, 2017 was my year of taking the first step. This year is all about making myself stick to my own bomb-ass guns. Even if this year is a long list of rejections, I don’t bloody well care. I am sticking so hard I don’t care* if I shatter into a billion pieces.
*caring a little bit.
So there, 2018! Come the bloody hell at me.
What to expect downtown at the old shesnogood.com… more travel things, more thoughts on art, love and equality. On how to move to Berlin or any country other than your own. Thoughts on taking risks and trusting yourself enough to take a gamble on who you are, and what you got. Love, again. Weird shit.
Thanks for comin’ down, peaches.