(! Caution: this read could cause altitude sickness. And could contain traces of drugs, nuts and nudity.)
I touch the fire and it freezes me.
I look into it and it’s black.
Why can’t I feel?
My skin should crack and peel.
I want the fire back.
(-Once More, with Feeling
episode 7, season 6,
Buffy the Vampire Slayer-)
People: “How do you do it? I’m already working my 6th consecutive Sunday in order to pay my bills. Damn girl, you’re living the life. How silly are we.”
People: “So you’ve traveled half the globe, went directly to the Tour de France and are now living the bohemian life in Ibiza. What’s next on the agenda, Ev?”
Me: “Worrying. Potentially with the outlook of living in a box for a while.”
People: “Sure. Since you live such a hard life . LOL”.
Reality catches up on you like an FBI agent wanting you to comply to the rules everybody has to comply to.
And it seems it’s time to go back to every day life.
That cruel, pitiless place that is nothing like the colorful sketch we see in romantic comedies or read about in novels.
It looks like I will stay in Antwerp for some time to come, to recalculate and find a temporary job to pass time. And top up my finances. (Since tax payers don’t pay for sabbaticals anymore.)
Money makes the world go round. And makes me go around that world. And since I’m not a gay dancer receiving 500 euro tips from Arabic bobos in Ibiza night clubs, I have to find a real job and walk the line for a while. The production line.
It didn’t help splurging all my ‘Tour de France’ money in Ibiza. But that’s all part of living in the moment and leaving the worrying for after.
Err…Yeah, I didn’t really succeed in doing that last part either.
The idea sounds simple. Just living in the moment, sand between my toes, sun bathing, shutting down the hard drive, recharging the batteries, hakuna matata.
But, the truth is, I have always been a terrible in the moment liver…
Due to some serious binge-traveling I knew I would be left with a financial and possibly emotional hangover. It was immanent. The thought was everywhere I went. While I was standing on the dance floor. While I was sitting on the back of the scooter clinging on to my best friend Cedric like grabbing on to life. While I was lying on the beach… Everywhere I looked I saw people enjoying a hard earned holiday. When I flew over me, I saw escapism. Topless escapism.
Somebody who escaped everyday life in order to live in a dream bubble for a while -with unsupported breasts!- but soon that bubble would explode like Cinderella’s carriage that would turn back into an ugly pumpkin. And she would be left in the gutter. With one shoe. And saggy tits.
My head was under attack with these thoughts. At first I thought I was just PMS-ing.
But it was something much worse.
I got hit by melancholy.
Wiki: Melancholy or nostalgia is a state of mind that tends towards depression and is characterized by a sad look on the past or an unfulfilled desire.
Somebody else puts it this way:
“I think the eternal melancholy of grown ups is: the desire for deep tenderness. Tenderness that goes so deep there is no worldly problem that can come between that. Giving everything. Receiving everything. Always receiving. It sounds immature but I think the base of melancholy is the lack of maturity. The desire for eternal protection.”
It’s about 15 years ago I first came in contact with the word ‘melancholy’. (…) During an episode of Dawson’s Creek.
I was too busy with the superficial love story and was just waiting for Joey and Pacey to finally kiss that I didn’t really give a lot of attention to Dawson’s obvious teenage depression. I just thought he was a big nag really.
Only now: it seems I’ve come down with the Dawson syndrome myself. THE WORST PMS EVER!
According to the internet:
Melancholic people are emotionally sensitive, perfectionistic introverts.
No shit! I am emotionally sensitive and a big time perfectionist. Otherwise I wouldn’t have given up ‘the perfect job’, ‘the perfect relationship’ for some more meaningful life I know is just out there somewhere.
Reality is my biggest (fr)enemy. I want my dreams to be reality. But reality doesn’t domesticate that easy. And the introvert part? Well I don’t like people that much so I live in my own head a lot. Thinking, dreaming, worrying, … Worry if I will ever make it in this life. If I will find a balance between providing for a future while not forgetting to live and breathe and enjoy the ride.
You: “Then why didn’t you just stay a newspaper journalist with a stable life and a fix income. Do you know how much people would kill to be what you were?”
Well I couldn’t.
Exactly one year ago, Angelo started a fire in me.
Deep in the Slovenian woods he taught me there is more to life than working your head off, paying bills and being a slave to society. “If you don’t like where you’re at in life, change the decor. If you don’t like the road that’s laid out for you, pave your own. If you don’t like the future that’s ahead of you. Draw a new one. The secret of leading a rich life is to let go. And find wealth in less.”
I was spoilt to land a job like that at such a young age. My golden ticket was handed to me, just like that. But I felt I was achieving for someone else. I was not living for me. So I went to confront, challenge and comfort myself. Comfort myself with the thought I stayed true to my gut. And dared to be me. Free. Instead of trying to be someone I was not. Caged.
But that morning in Ibiza. I was mourning.
The fire Angelo ignited was slowly dying. Like somebody took a piss on it.
It was only later I discovered the new moon had poisoned me…
Apparently there was a new moon rising. And apparently ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, ets.) take control during a new moon. New moon night is a golden opportunity for the ghosts to cause distress to man. It’s only since meeting Helmut in Tasmania and studying some Chinese philosophy in China I started to pay attention to the moon. And it being a carrier of human emotions.
My thoughts churning: “I’m alone. Alone with my responsibilities. And I’m tired. I’ve traveled so far. I have gained. And I have lost. Was it all worth it? I would love to be carried on a meandering river. Like baby Moses. Knowing I will reach a destination. Instead of taking this thorny road*.”
* Remembering a passage in ‘The Art of Learning’, a book I was reading, by Josh Waitzkin:
“To walk a thorny road, we may cover its every inch with leather. Or we can make sandals.” (Indian parable)
Make sandals. Got it.
Some people admire me for making the decision. Throwing away securities to dig deeper, find a deeper meaning, savoring life to the fullest.
But that morning in bed, I couldn’t help but ask myself:
Is it nobel to live according to your ideals? Or is it just dumb, self-destructive and naive?
Is this the time I wake up, lose my innocence and change into the pessimist everybody else has already become?
I mean how stubborn can you keep holding on to something?
I just wanted to crawl into a big sweater. One that fits my knees, curl up and whisper: “Life be gentle on me. Don’t drown me. In regret, financial debt or other heart ache. Life be gentle on me. Don’t drown me. In regret, financial debt or other heart ache. Life be gentle on me. Don’t …”
Argentinian summer love*: “Hey Ev, wanna watch the meteor shower tonight?”
(*For those who don’t know, I had an Argentinian summer love in Ibiza. See previous post!)
Me: “M…meteor shower? Yeah, sounds great.”
“…Do I have to wear a bra?”
Argentinian summer love: “Err..no…”
That night at dinner, I turned to the Argentinian for a piece of advice. Since he studied Psychology.
He’s a big realist. The opposite of the big dreamy drama queen I can be. And a Fire sign. Exactly what I needed.
To him, life is just life. You don’t have to have it together always. You just have to always live. (…) And if you fail to do so, take some drugs, it will lift your spirits right up and get rid of your anxiety.
Me: “Err, that’s not really my cup of tea. I mean, I thought about taking a pill in Ibiza, like that Mike Posner song suggests, but I changed my mind. I don’t do drugs. I’ll just stick to this bottle of wine.”
Argentinian: “Alcohol is potentially the worst drug out there. It’s just because it’s accepted and drugs aren’t that people think it’s okay. Coke is a natural plant. In the 19th century cocaine was to be considered a panacea for everything from headaches to indigestion to aches and pains. For instance, it helps against altitude sickness. I chewed some coca leaves while I was climbing Machu Picchu.”
Argentinian: “A lot of brilliant scientist and geniuses established their best work under the influence of drugs. Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was an avid cocaine fan. The guy who discovered the double helix structure of DNA was under influence of LSD. Same goes for Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and The Beatles.”
“You think you’re healthy cause you don’t take drugs? There are enough bad chemicals in food and pharmacies. Society has each and every one of us medicated and drugged. And it’s often worse than we think. Relax, I’m not saying we should all shoot heroin.”
Me thinking: “I’d rather have you shoot me with your loaded gun.”
Argentinian: “I’ve seen you worrying. You’re absent. You live in your mind too much. Let me just tell you: the future is not here yet. No matter what you choose, there are no bad choices. Whether you choose to leave or stay, it is going to be good.”
Me: “Okay cut the psychobabble bullshit, Freud. Let’s watch the stars and touch each other!”
I don’t know if it was the wine or the meteor chemistry above our heads but I was slowly starting to come… alive again. One scooter ride later we were on the roof of our Spanish hacienda. It was pitch dark. Only the sky was lit in an emerald glow and every 5 meters street lights were stitching the sky deck to the earth. While the bright celestial fire balls were bravely sliding down the atmosphere, something changed inside me. I felt a flow. -No, not my period.- I was feng shui-ing again. The bad demons of the new moon had left the building and I was released from evil spirits. (…) And pants.
That night on the roof, …
I got the fire back.
People: “Gee Ev, you talk so openly about your intimate… thoughts. Aren’t you ever embarrassed to show yourself this naked? Or afraid of what your parents might say?”
Me: “Err no, my parents raised me this way and I don’t take myself seriously. At all. I am a free spirit. I’m breaking down my barriers, releasing my inhibitions. And spreading the word of self-love, self-development, self-reflection and self-deprecation.
When life gives you lemons…
Same goes for watermelons.
Let’s just all embrace our blonde/cluelessness together!