Sometimes it helps when I isolate feelings in my mind, make them a little persona, dress them up in mental dolls clothes and listen to their animations with one eyebrow raised. That wary adult amusement one observes a tired giggling child, waiting for the giggles to turn to tears. Today I dressed my mental-wailing in the attire of a child, plaited my cute little worries and proceeded to pull up my metaphorical lace-trimmed, anxious socks. “I WANT TO GO HOME” my innards wail, and I feel my synapses firing odd thoughts as they ramp up to a tired, overstimulated, supermarket tantrum. “I WANT TO GO HOOOMEEEE!”. Quick warning, I’m sick and grumpy.
What does an adult do, at the brink of an inner child meltdown you ask? Well, I walked promptly to the nearest mostly English bookstore that plays great jazz, and bought a Vegemite bagel. Vegemite for this big kid here, thanks, yep, she’s a little homesick. On the best, fresh, handmade authentic bagel you can find in Berlin. With a hot chai in one hand, writing book in the other, I plonk myself on the nearest chair and begin to write. Beats biting my partners head off. I didn’t initially write this, if you’re curious. In between bites of warm bagel and sips of chai I start with;
“Darling, you don’t really have a home as yet. Sorry to break it to you. We’ve known about this for quite some time….”
I watched that polar bear video on Facebook today. The one where it’s starving to death on the barely snow-capped ice. I cried into the hot water bottle I had pressed to my face, as I lay on a grubby sofa bed in the kitchen. I try to work out how I can make up for the carbon footprint of a traveller. There’s a brief flash of hot contempt at the fact Germany has the highest amount of plastic wrapping in their supermarket products that I’ve ever seen. I’ve also had an untreated ear infection for days. I’m a shit tourist. But I didn’t come here to be a tourist. Why am I here again? I keep writing. It’s 4 degrees and lightly raining and the $20 black gumboots with furry insoles have been my best investment yet. I glimpse at the books on my left, note a few titles and return pen to paper.
“All you’ve ever done is exist in the free space in the fabric of other’s lives, oozed into the cracks and claimed credit for a wholeness you facilitated but never cultivated for yourself…” BOOM. The fireworks of self-criticism go off like streets on New Year’s Eve. I sip my tea calmly. Maintain exterior calm.
We went to a Christmas market last night. It was snowing and beautiful and my warm Glühwein was enough to gloss over one of those opinionated discussions turned quietly-offended-but-feigning-understanding. I love Christmas here. Ear infection and all.
But I also didn’t come here to deal with a quiet rage. I think about how my horse mirrored me so well. I think about mirrors. I think about my Mum telling me I’m the perfect mirror to her, I was probably only 4. I didn’t get it, so I remembered the words like a mantra, till I was old enough to decipher it. What am I for a human being? A mixture of gap-fill and a reflective surface, shiny, chameleon-like, human goo. Put that on my headstone when I’m 90, will you?
Writing through one’s own shit is a little like being dumped by a wave. You get the timing wrong, miss the wave, and suddenly you’re overwhelmed and at the mercy of a salty washing machine. When you find your feet, and resurface from the mini dunk-and-drown, it’s a little humiliating to know you’re now in waist deep water and you’ve lost your bikini top and your nose is dripping. But it’s momentous, nonetheless, because you’ve survived.
I’ve snapped back from the visuals of drowning myself in my chai. Talk about storm in a teacup. Write, Kiana, write. This is supposed to be a travel blog about not-traveling and not-being-at-home.
“Ok, so stop it. Stop this silly tantrum right now. You’re not lost, you’re not unloved, you’re not waiting, you’re not empty. You are latent, suspended in restful, contemplative torpor. Your dreams are lying dormant, not dead…
I am not empty, I am spacious, gently expanding. I am simply a long way from home and the weather is unwelcoming and no to you, deepest fear, you have not forgotten how to ride a horse or feel connected to non-human sentient beings. Be frustrated. Frustration is good. Maybe my act of rebellion this time will be to live instead of implode”
Inner child quietens. My pages are like handkerchiefs to it’s sniffling. I’m still stubbornly waiting out my rage close to 8pm in the cafe. I send an update text to man friend so he’s aware the tsunami has been downgraded to a wave, no casualties taken, but to pack his relationship surfboard just in case. He’s used to it. Most of the time I’m both the lighthouse and the thing that’ll shipwreck you. I’m just going to eat Vegemite bagels and cheesecake brownies until I feel better. I’ve got this. There’s even leftover sticky date pudding at home.
Wait, did I just say home?