Category Archives: Identity

Mind reset.

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Dear Mum,

Today, I need to get you out of my head. I need to get your negativity, unknowledgeable fear and constant discernment out of my head and into space so that I can go back to being the best I am.

I don’t do that for you or to make sure you feel good about yourself. I do this solely for me. ME. NOT YOU. Understand?

It is not my personal goal to make you unhappy. I don’t hate you. I don’t like you very much either these days. I think you believe that somehow, I have to give back to you for something you gave me -life. But see, here’s the thing: I do not owe you. I never did. You conceived me, chose to keep and raise me. That was your choice, I had nothing to do with this decision. And that is why I do not owe you. Please do not judge me because of this.

I am grateful that you kept me alive, nurtured me as much as you deemed possible and appropriate. I do not feel it was enough, I do not think it was all you could have done. But I do not judge you for it. I believe you do the best you think you can and allow yourself to give and receive what you deem is correct and right. Please do not judge my take on this.

We differ. You and I are not the same person. Neither are you and your mum. Or you and your sister. There are people in our lives that come pretty close to being who we are ourselves. They are called soulmates. But mother and daughter are not necessarily supposed to be that. Please do not judge me for this opinion.

I do not believe that you think that I should act and think like you. That is because I do not think (contrary to me) that your opinion and view on life is right. Call me pretentious and arrogant, but I have figured (my) life out. I have lived in absolute and braggy heaven for four years and was the happiest person I could be. Please do not judge me that.

I do not resent you or anyone else I know for not living that life anymore. I do not resent my very own decision to come back to Germany. But I allow myself to hate on my current situation so that I will keep striving to make it better. Please do not judge me for that.

I will be happy. I will be very much a person that you do not understand, do not think lives “right” or in the way she is supposed to. But I do not want to do that anyway. I want to live in a way that makes me feel good about myself (yes, it’s all about me). A life that is mine. Not yours. I want to be honest and straight-forward, with compassion for the faults of others and myself, I want to be eye to eye with every person I meet. You cannot judge me for that.

All of this I want to be because it makes me happy. All of my life, I have seen you and others struggle for something that is called “HAPPINESS”. Neither you or anyone else seems to know what exactly it means, but constantly you need to strive for it without ever seeming to find a piece of it. Or if you do, you let it fade away because something else gets your attention. I do not judge you for that.

I stumbled upon happiness. Far away from the life I used to live, turning it upside down and making me rethink much of who I am (AND acting that out). BUT, it was true happiness. I felt invincible there and then. But see, life taught me that even in happiness, we are not invincible. And that perfection has flaws (even the golden cut is something that cannot perfectly be achieved, maybe aliens could figure out, but humanity cannot). AND, I WANT IT BACK. I know what I need to do, who I need to re-become, how I need to live to be happy. And I will. Whether you judge me or not.

A Good Place On My Own

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A few days ago, I read this post on inspirationlocation.com. It stuck with me and is still causing major rumbles in my head. I have been needing to go back and re-read to get my mind straight on what I want and can take out of the post. Here is what I got:

The main thing that got me was the bit about “outer geography”. This has been (as those of you who read all the blurbs I post on here know) a major concern of mine since I returned to the “forsaken” land. Just kidding, it’s not forsaken. Not really anyway. I have been thinking, rethinking, analyzing, and over-analyzing what it is that keeps me from being me and being totally happy here.

With saying that, I have to attest that I am in no place where I would be in danger of being depressive or any other kind of clinically crazy over this issue – despite my mother saying otherwise. That’s a different story though.

Finding a good place is something I have been trying to do for a long 18 months now and I am getting to a point where I want to give up. I just want to say, f**k it and go. Somewhere else. No, let me rephrase: not just somewhere, but there. When I read Kath’s writing about finding a good fit for you, I had to smile big. Because that is exactly the phrase I used to utter so many times in talks with prospective students. I used to say: “We want to be the right fit for you, but if we’re not, we will not make you stay for the sake of you bringing in the money.” Well, I didn’t actually say it with those words, but my PR brain is on vacation tonight.

Either way, finding a good fit in life is substantial to your ability to feel good about yourself and those in your life. Maybe this is all that is wrong with me here – I haven’t found the right fit. Good thing I have plenty ideas for how to do better with that. I actually started today and so far, it’s going pretty well.

P.S.: This post sounds much less philosophical than the thoughts floating around in my head. Maybe I will be able to rethink and word better in the next few days, but for that I will probably need a reminder. So, if you are reading this after March 14, 2012, please comment so that I will go back and edit. Thanks. 🙂

On personal life.

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Last week, I had the biggest argument I’ve had in the past two years. One of the issues brought up by the other person was that I invade their personal life and that it is not something I should or was permitted to care or make my opinion known about. You have to know that I am rather closely related to the person saying this. As you can tell, I am rather occupied by the thought of this statement which is why I now will babble on about the definition and – more importantly – meaning of “personal life”.

So, here are the questions (I never just stick to one, do I?): What does personal life mean? Is there a definition that counts for everyone or should you be allowed to decide what it is? Is someone’s personal life always the same thing in regards to that person? Or can you change it around just so it fits your current situation?

When looking up “personal life” on Google (kids, this is not something you should do when home alone; have an adult with you at all times), the first page on the list was (what else…) Wikipedia. Here is what I found on their page on personal life:

“In modern times, many people have come to think of their personal lives as separate from their work.[11] Work and recreation are distinct; one is either on the job or not, and the transition is abrupt. Employees have certain hours they are bound to work, and work during recreational time is rare. This may be related to the continuing specialization of jobs and the demand for increased efficiency, both at work and at home. The common phrase “Work hard, play hard” illustrates this mindset. There is a growing trend, however, toward living more holistically and minimizing such rigid distinctions between work and play, in order to achieve an “appropriate” work–life balance.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_life#Sociology, 2/29/2012)

Now, that is pretty much what I understood of the term which leads me to think that I can’t be way off topic when talking to any random person about this. This, in turn, means that the person I had this argument with must be pretty much going off their own path with this one. This, I think, is not generally a problem, but if you live in close proximity and your relationship with said person is close in an emotional way as well, I do think that this inevitably leads to problems.

And that, it has. Definitely. Terribly. Horribly. In frank speech: big-ass problems. And meanwhile big asses are not a bad thing (more of the opposite, see Sir Mix-A-Lot), an argument like the one from the other week is. For me anyway. Not because it riles me up emotionally which it did for a week or so (that’s when I wrote that first paragraph), but because in cases like this I feel like I need to take action.

And the only effective action to deal with someone like this person and something like this situation is to cut ties and move on to a better life with more understanding people who are on the same page as I. Which I did. As sad as it is.

Umm, that’s me?!?!

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“huh? what did i want to write about here? any ideas? I guess about the different roles I am taking in life and how I need to get them together. Or how being a mum just seems so weird.”

Well, from the above notes for this post, you can pretty much tell the state I am still in. Although I have found my way into this new role called “mum”, I still feel like there are just so many things that I need to get together all at once.

Particularly now that I am kicking this business off the ground (like, literally, July cannot come fast enough), my head is spinning with ideas, things to remember, tasks I have to get done, more things to remember, etc. Sometimes it is so much that I need to sit quiet for a minute to even remember what I was doing that moment. I lose track of so many things that I have a tough time to remember which ones I actually did remember. There is pure craziness in my head.

One of my friends told me that I was “overwhelmed” with everything. He meant it not in the way that it is too much for me and I cannot take care of everything and my body and mind just stop being receptive. He meant it in a way that despite me being able to take care of things, I am going into a state similar to shock – functioning, but nothing is actually being processed.

Being a mum is the most wonderful thing I have and yet, I feel like if there wasn’t all this other stuff that keeps my body and mind spinning, I would lead a rather dull life. But this is only because I am in this rather constant state of not-processing what is going on. One of these days, everything will burst out of me, hopefully in a moment of quietude and solitude. Then, I will cry.

I am not sure why, but for a few days now I have had the urge to cry it out. What is a rather detrimental process for babies seems to be a solution to this state of shock I feel I am in: letting all the stocked up emotions go by crying them out of me. It is an odd feeling for me because I am not sad in any way. I feel happy in my head, but the connection to my heart somehow is obstructed and I feel that only a good cry will help get the obstacle out of the way and reconnect brain and heart.

Who do you think I am?

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A big part of my life these days is characterized by the pursuit of a balance between my German and American self. Recently, I have found that much of what Germany means to me, I detest. I also realized that many people who have not lived here all their life and then went abroad, only see good things here.

So I started wondering what others see in this place that my filters block out, what they see that is beauty that I cannot see anymore. To hopefully be reminded of some of the wonderful things this country and its people can be, I am therefore asking you to send me a list or story or poem or picture or whatever you feel shows your feelings towards Germany, your perception of what Germany and who the German people are. I will be glad to receive your “images” via email at freidenkerin@live.com or on facebook, twitter, etc.

Please do pass this on to those you think have something to say about it!! Thank you!

 

Oh, I forgot to give you an incentive, right?! Well, here it goes: A velvet coffee mug by Kahla Porcelain, a porcelain manufacture just around the corner from my hometown will go to a randomly chosen winner. Entries must be received by February 14, 2012, 11.59 PM GMT+1.

What makes a writer?

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Ya know, once you get out of the habit of writing for a few days, it is REALLY tough getting back into it. Especially if you have a babe keeping tabs of every step you take which leaves you deadly exhausted by the end of the day. Actually, I don’t recall too many nights this month that I haven’t gone to bed with her.

Well, maybe three. One of them was Thursday when I got to go out like a grown-up(!), one is right now because I cannot fall asleep, and one was Wednesday when I couldn’t sleep either.

So, now I am looking at all these drafts I saved over the past three weeks and don’t know a single word I wanted to write. See, I thought about writing. It didn’t just completely disappear off the pin board in my head with all its imaginary post-its, notes, pictures, reminders, and quotes on it. Sometimes, I have to add a really big one that says writing, but still I manage to ignore the very big glowing, with glitter flowing note that says “WRITE!” After all, the pin board in my head is rather colorful and if I choose to not focus on it, all the stuff on there just turns into a wonderful colorful cloud of yum – the enjoyment of life. BTW, one note also says “Do yoga!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”, but until I figure out whether momma and babe yoga will be for me, I think I will keep ignoring it. Check out this blog to see what I mean.

So, am I a writer even though I tend to totally stop and then pick up again? What is it that defines someone being a writer? The idea for this blog post was inspired by two other blogs: zee zahava and Inspiration Location. Both these blogs have caused tumultuous days for my brain battling with the question whether I would ever write like these two wonderful women and if they are writers – and of course if I am. The quest for a definition or even a rough sketch of who a writer is started.

Now, I have come to the conclusion that a writer is someone who, like me (yay!), cannot stop writing. Just like Kath writes in this post, you will keep going. You may put down the pen or close the notebook for weeks, months, or years at a time, but eventually you will pick it up again. And the reason for that kind of behavior lies in a passion for symbols, I believe. It is the fun that you have when combining symbols (words) into a meaning, melting together, sitting on your computer screen or stuck on paper in black ink, seeing how the meaning bursts out of the screen or off the page and into the reader’s arms, when you imagine the reaction of confusion, understanding, or amusement that comes with reading the lines you put together so carefully.

And that is what makes a writer.

Being foreign.

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So, July is almost half-way through and I haven’t written anything. But, I have been thinking about how it feels to be foreign to something. It doesn’t matter what you think about here, e.g. a country, a culture, kind of animal or plant, relationship, landscape, a language, kind of music or food, way of thinking, concept of dealing with money, laws, etc.

There are so many things in which we can be new to something. Yet, we humans try to get to know everything that is in close proximity to our life’s focal point and once we have a certain familiarity level reached, we stop exploring what is there and feel “satisfaction”. What is it with that?

Very soon after my return to Germany, I decided to tackle my personal dissatisfaction with the life I live here by going abroad again. This time, I figured, I would do it all right and plan ahead, find a job somewhere, a house, insurance, a car, etc. and then move. I don’t mean that in the past I have done it all wrong, I just wanna do it all right this time. Not to mention that I have a baby on board this time which makes it even more important to figure most technical details out before I go.

But let’s get back on topic here: why do I want to go? I have been asked by a number of people now (preferable those who spend two weeks vacation time abroad every year, but have never lived abroad) what makes me so eager to leave this country again when I have just returned. Here is what I think is the answer:

For starters, I have not been eager to live here in the first place and if some things would have gone differently last year, I would still be living in the “holy land” (Mansfield, PA, that is, haha) with Lily and be happy.

But what is more important and what I have come to discover to be real reason for my being drawn to foreign lands is that I love to be a foreigner. It is that easy. I love the feeling of not knowing exactly what to expect, how people react to my personality and my way of thinking, finding out new things about all those things listed above and getting to know them. It is really fascinating to me having to figure out something I don’t know about. I just love that kind of life. Other people who are like me travel the world by bike, go into the jungle to discover new plant species, or in past time, have traveled cross-country in the then Wild West . I don’t meant to put myself at the same level at those people. I am certainly no explorer. But I am pretty sure that these people have about the same feeling about what they do that I have when I go abroad.

Now, what I have been thinking about the past week or so, is how it is that I am like this. Surely, there are many people of my kind in this world, some I have had the chance to get to know in the past years. But not all people are like me, that is for sure. I don’t know a lot here in Germany, that is even more sure. Here is what I have come up with: I am an explorer by type.

Helen Fisher, a world known biological anthropologist (need I say that I rocked in all of my Anthropology classes in college), has divided all of humanity into four types of personality. Despite the fact that she uses these types to explain relationship behavior and (non-)success with them, I like to say that my type – namely, explorer – causes me to be able to feel so comfortable in situations that are not familiar to me at all.

Now that the riddle of future traveling and living abroad extravaganza is solved, what does this leave me with? Well, only with the security of knowing that this may be just the way life should be lived – for me.