Saturday, 23 January 2016

Blue

Here's a pretty Livejournally post. It's the first in a while.

I thought the typical January blues had escaped me this year. Feeling down during the winter - especially since this has actually been a winter, complete with snow and ongoing minus temperatures - is to be expected. And sure, I don't have the practical problems I had this time in 2015. But it's still been tough.
The month was tainted by the death of David Bowie, which has hung over his erstwhile adopted city like a stormcloud. I was sucked into it for a little bit, probably because of all the time I spend online. The past week, I've had no social plans (in the evenings, at least) and I am finding it very difficult to achieve a work-life balance. Everyone seems to be leaving Berlin, or wanting to leave.

These days I do ask myself what I'm really doing in Berlin, what my identity is here. I feel I have been living here now just long enough for the German way of doing things to have become second nature, but at the same time I've not been here long enough to escape feeling really quite alienated at times.
I'm not German, so there's lots I don't get and never will, but I'm also not a tourist or newcomer who doesn't have a clue. I spent years studying the language and dreaming of Berlin; I have invested a lot. Still, it feels like I have to make a lot of effort to strike a good balance: yes, there are times when I really just need to hang out with Brits or Australians, and I'm certainly not about to do stuff like ban myself from reading English books; but also, what is the point of living here if I don't revel in the difference of the place and people? It can be difficult not to measure your self-worth against that.

Right now, I'm actually sitting in St Oberholz (see last post). I had had a writing workshop planned, but a couple of the group were ill so we had to cancel and I only found out while already on the way there. I had my laptop with me, so not wanting to waste the fact I'd got up early and was in the city centre, I headed here to get some writing done - namely my novel. But I still feel like I can't really relax. You see, the plan had been to bring food to the writing workshop - I had volunteered to bring a sorbet, which I bought this morning. Now it's melted of course. No, it's not the end of the world, it's probably refreezable, but it cost €2.89 and I am pretty broke at the moment so it just feels like I spent money on expensive slushy sugar and everything is shit.

Self-doubt is normal. But I suppose this post is to let people know that ~even in Berlin~ things aren't always peachy. In fact, I would say you have to hustle harder than in most cities to make it all really feel worth it.

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