When I was 27 years old I was travelling the West Coast of the U.S. for six months. You would probably not recognise me on photos. I had long, almost full, blonde hair, tanned skin, I was into sports, I was young, I drove a third hand wreck of a car like the surfers in California did, in the movies. 2001 was the year. Yes, that year. That last summer when you still could check into an airport without being treated like a potential criminal, and the main topic in every newspaper was still something related to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Somewhere in Arizona, in Sedona near Flagstaff, for a brief two weeks I’ve had a girlfriend. She wasn’t my first girlfriend ever, I’ve held hands and kissed with a girl before. And it’s not that I was a late bloomer, up to that time I just never had much luck with girls. She was older than me, and more experienced than me. This I knew. Even though back then I didn’t know what that meant.
She brought me to the most interesting places, and events, introduced me to the nicest people, bought me the most tasty food, compliant with my diet, she went out of her way to take very good care of me. I didn’t know why, but somehow she knew what I loved and enjoyed most. One of the most remarkable things about her was this: she listened to me. It was the first time in my life that I had the feeling that someone was listening to me. Like really listen to me. We would sit at wonderful places outside and we would just talk. Hour after hour. Or maybe I would talk, and we would laugh. We would share our stories, our dreams, our beliefs, and the words just kept pouring out of me. I’ve never experienced something like this before. I loved it, I loved how I talked when she was with me, I loved my jokes she made me come up with, I loved my clever remarks on our conversations, she opened myself up to me, I loved myself. I loved myself so much.
Anyone who knows anything about love can probably guess that this relationship didn’t hold. After two weeks she had to go back to her real life, to her real job. We promised to stay in contact. She never put up a fight. She was sad already days before we parted. She said, „I cannot feel you.” She said that I felt so light. She said that even when we were walking hand-in-hand she felt as if I wasn’t there.
I was though. But I was with me.
All this I remembered today.
It’s not the first time that the memory of her came back to me. I sometimes do think of her. But it’s the first time that I’m able to see it like this. I spare myself the self-criticism. I’ve suffered enough. What I want to say is this:
Here’s a post to life. To friendship. To relationships. To going out of our ways to connect in a world of lockdowns, face masks, diverging beliefs, being in different stages in our development, and a failing biosphere.
Here’s to daily blogging. An uninterrupted, free flowing narrative that continues and advances further every day. I type. I speak. I speak. I type. My good text editor accepts every single word, it’s always there for me, listens unconditionally. Without judgment it remembers every letter typed. Every single detail. The worst criticism comes in form of red, wavy underlines. For my kind consideration.
But the love and companionship of a text editor can only carry us so far. The seemingly safe harbour of disengagement, of writing privately, a secret diary, without feedback and without another soul to rub against, can only make a difference when we then take to the world through other pathways.
Spoken words cannot be taken back – neither can be published posts that have already been read. And yet, sometimes, I make changes after I pressed „Publish”. And yet, sometimes, we would like to make changes after everything was said. Can I trust myself to say even one more word?
We need to engage, have courage, compassion, speak, type, dance, sing, paint, love to make ourselves real. Where else other than in this world could we test our thoughts and ideas, how would we otherwise be able to assess weight and meaning? Conscience is the indicating feeling whether we strengthened the bonds to our peer group or weakened them. Once we’re here there’s no opt-out. Remaining silent still says something.