Already as a child, writing was a way for me to process what I was experiencing. I started writing when I was seven or eight years old and soon discovered my love for words, word pictures and word plays. I think I gave meaning to what was happening by writing it down. I went through a childhood full of loneliness and worries that a child shouldn’t have, but I made it into a poem that I liked. My own words touched me again and again, even years later they were a bridge to the fields of rubble inside myself, that I might otherwise never have stepped on again.
That is nothing special! Many people do something like that. Many people process the stories of their life through art. They paint, draw, write poems, stories and whole books, sew, tinker, knit, potter, carve, sculpt, assemble parts into strange shapes, sing their own texts, bake weird cakes or spray-paint railway carriages.
I have a vision! My red carpet is a platform for all those who would like to show what they do. For those who don’t quite have the courage. For those who are bleeding to death inside and bursting with sheer creativity. For those who are like me.
In the section called RED CARPET, I give you a space for your art, whatever it may be. It is your stage.
when time stands still
when i go to bed
when i try to sleep
the old world is replaced
and the monsters are released
there is a thing
that makes the nightmares start
every time i try to sleep
i call it little demon
it comes around
and whispers to me:
„if you forget
i´ll wreck your soul
with feelings of guilt“
its twin is on
the other side
and whispers too:
„did you do everthing
you wanted to do?
I think it was
the wrong decision“
when the light is off
i start to ask:
„who is next?“
the shadows rise
and become shapes
of people I loved
and i remember:
love is not easy -
neither is being happy
when the clock stops ticking
when the wind stops blowing
it starts to get cold
and I feel vulnerable
every night after
heartache and pain
the salvation comes
and fights the devil’s brood
relief spreads through me
i feel safe
and fall asleep
now the monsters are beaten
now the shadows are gone -
but the journey of fear
will never end
Vergiss, wer dir Leid zugefügt hat.
Vergiss den Schmerz,
die Wut, die Ohnmacht,
deine Scham, als du dich nicht gewehrt hast.
Vergiss, was du gelernt hast.
Vergiss die Sicherheit,
die Leute, die sie verkauft haben,
die Unglaublichkeit ihrer Zumutung,
die Ordnung, die du so liebst.
Vergiss, wen du getötet hast.
Vergiss die Schläge,
wenn du die Keule an dich reißt,
und die Freude,
die dich beflügelt.
Vergiss deine Mutter.
Vergiss, dass sie da war für dich,
und dass jetzt du da bist,
für die Väter.
Vergiss, dass du gesteinigt wurdest.
Vergiss dein Krepieren,
deine weißen Fingerknöchel,
dein Festkrallen am Immer-Wieder.
Vergiss, dass du eingebunden bist.
Vergiss das Netz.
Du kannst es nicht greifen.
Schlüpf durch die Löcher.
Vergiss die Liebe.
Nicht Inhalt, nicht Nährstoff.
eine Lärche im Maiwind,
Vergiss die Sprache.
Requiem for my depression
Yesterday, I gave permission to my cells to be alive whenever they want to for no reason whatsoever.
I have spent a lot of time – the majority of my life, really – in a state of depression. In this state, I don’t want to do anything, I only want to consume, books or series or other Gremlin food, and do anything to distract me from what I’m feeling, I want to spend my days with my head stuck under my blankets, I want to wait until I feel better again, I want to run away from whatever it is that’s hunting me.
I don’t feel good in my depression, but I am so afraid of what could or would happen when I stop running away and hiding from what is hunting me that I prefer the safe, the (not really) comfortable, the well-known, the usual, the normal, the numb state of depression. I am so afraid of what I would feel if I stopped running.
When I’m in that state, I can already sense the edge, the shadow of the fear and rage I’m running away from. A fear and a rage so big, so enormous, so gigantic, so massive that I cannot bear them. A fear and a rage so earth-shattering and all-consuming that I’m afraid they might kill me. A fear and a rage that are scary, uncomfortable, unknown, unusual, not normal and, more than anything else, alive.
I already know that running away from those emotions will not make them go away. I already know that the only way to stop feeling depressed is to go through the emotions. I already know that until I do that my life is mostly wasted time, because I simply wait the seconds, minutes, hours, days away until whatever the emotions are about is long gone or the pressure gets so big that I crack under it.
At some point, when the pressure gets too big, when the dam holding them at bay cracks, there’s a moment, when suddenly, the fear and the rage break out and surge into my body, a colossal force of emotion. All along, the decision that I may never allow my fear to have a voice and that I may never allow my anger to have a voice is firmly anchored in myself. Therefore, when I get flooded by those silent emotions, I hold them in, hold them in, hold them IN until it gets so MUCH and something has to GIVE because I can’t BEAR it and I SCREAM, but always, always silently. And I RAGE, but always, always against myself. And the fear and the anger break out of me, they slam through me and want OUT and they need to be kept IN and OUT and IN and OUT and IN and it hurts so much and I need to hurt something but never something else so there’s only myself and I dig my fingernails into the skin of my forearms and – silence. Blessed silence, numbness, peace. And yet, there’s more, more, MORE. More fear, more anger, always together, entwined in each other. And it gets too much and I start to cry and I just don’t know what to do and it hurts and I’m scared and I don’t know.
And sometimes, I decide to just throw it all away and decide to do without whatever led to the emotions, because even though it means I have to sacrifice something it’s still less painful than feeling.
And sometimes, I manage to slip around the emotions and stories and decisions and constructs and trick myself into just starting whatever it is that wants to be done and that causes such fear and then, like a storm that looms at the horizon, coming closer and closer, foretelling inescapable devastation and destruction only to dissipate in the nick of time into clouds which then reveal a sunny sky, all the pressure disappears and it is as if nothing ever happened. Catastrophe avoided – for today.
But sometimes, very rarely, I dive into the fear and the rage, and I break through the unbreakable rule to hold it all IN and I scream and shout and rage and LIVE and emerge on the other side sparkling and feeling and centred and alive. And for some time, I want so many things and am inspired and shoot all voices, I move and feel and change and live.
And yet, the habit of depression is strong, it’s lurking just below the surface, waiting for an opening to pull me under. I fear it and struggle against it and try to run away from it, but inevitably and gradually I start avoiding what I fear, I start listening to the voices that tell me “now really isn’t the time to express this” and “this really isn’t the place to be strange” and “that’s too loud” and “you’re too strange” and “you can always do that later and somewhere else”, I start running away from feeling and hide first in meaningless activity then in stories and books and different worlds, and even though there’s a niggling voice in the back of my head telling me that this is how it starts and I need to do something and I don’t want that and NO, I don’t listen, or maybe I listen but don’t react, because feeling, being loud, being alive is just so dangerous and to be avoided and if I go there I die!
And I hate it and I don’t want it and I fight it nail and tooth and sometimes I can hold the pure anger in my bones and the pure fear in my nerves a bit longer, but every time I slip back and I’ve had enough of that! Never do I want to fall back into depression ever again! I don’t want to be a zombie! I don’t want to waste my life! I don’t want to watch time go by waiting for something to be over! I don’t want to spend my life walking the well-trodden path and doing what’s comfortable and safe because I freeze up as soon as it’s not. I want to live and be and move! I want to plant trees and harvest fruits and vegetables and cook and negotiate intimacy and matter and be present and reduce plastic waste and be sustainable and build with earth and make music and learn languages and travel and teach what I have to teach and make a difference.
And it’s so scary. And doing and being what I already know is so much easier. So much more comfortable. It would be so much safer to give up. To disappear into the depths of depression and numbness and to stand for nothing, with my name never to be mentioned again.
I know what lies at the end of the path if I truly and finally stopped struggling. The end of having to feel and having to live is only one thing – death. That’s an option to consider, and at the same time, it isn’t at all. Giving up seems safer and easier and more comfortable and it is, but it is also not an option. I will not walk that path because I do not want to go where it leads. I don’t have it in me to give up. It’s not part of my box and not part of my being. Had it been, I would’ve surrendered to depression a long time ago.
I can’t give up and I don’t want to be stuck anymore – so what do I do? I can fight depression all I want, but fighting it and giving in to it are two sides of the same coin, they both keep me bound to depression. The only way to break free, to escape this tug of war inside myself is to do so sideways.
Escaping sideways means that I neither give in nor fight. It means going nonlinear. In this case, it means using my fear. Not yielding to the pressure, nor going against it, but rather jumping straight into my fear and following exactly what it tells me about.
I feel sad writing that, because it means I’m giving up my depression. I’m giving up what I’ve known my whole life, how I’ve lived my whole life, how I’ve survived until now. The delicate balance between depression and will to live has allowed me to survive my childhood without being killed and without killing myself. My depression has allowed me to survive and function in this culture, to go to school, to be normal, to fit in and not to overwhelm the people I depended on for survival. As a child, I don’t think my surroundings would’ve known how to handle my undepressed self.
I’m not a child anymore. I survived, now it’s time to live.
Depression, we’re over. Thank you for the time we had, thank you for helping me survive. Living, here I come. Goodness, this is scary. I’m alive!
My work is planting seeds,
live long seeds, like the trees
like the bees, they are flying trees
That go far and beyond
Let them cry,
All is part, all is all
we are one, we are all
All there is, here and now
and beyond, always on
Come with me, in this world
lets connect, let it flow
What we are, what there is
all comes now, all it is
Just surrender, to the call
let it shine, all along
It´s my cry, it´s my hope
and it goes on and on
It´s so tender, like a veil
what is holding all the game
Go beyond this illusion
go beyond what is wrong
we are stars, we are home
There´s no why, there´s no mind
only trust and just go
Make the step, and the next
and the next and the next
We´re around all along
we are one, we are whole
We´re a team, we´re a tribe
we´re a village, we´re a hive
And the tree of creation
goes expands and includes
There´s a spark, like a flame
that´s creating it all
All is said, but not done
Now it´s time, for us to start
Let´s connect, let us tune
The alchemist is originally not my idea, it comes from my friend and teacher Oliver Eduard Muhler.
Last Friday, Oliver and I talked about my website www.papa-bleiben.de. I told him about my publication in the ifp family handbook and about the reader who wanted my advice. He asked me if I could actually see that I was in fact a real alchemist - someone who can make gold from lead. At first I looked a little surprised, but then I realised that it isn’t all that wrong. I seem to be able to transform the difficult issues in my life (i.e. the lead) and make something good (gold) out of it.
Oliver said: You wrote a book about your divorce and a book about your family moving away. Why don’t you write about your ability to turn lead into gold.
Spontaneously the idea came up of writing a poem. This poem is not about lead and gold, but about transformation. This transformation happens inside me and does not have much to do with the outside. The uninvited guest (the family moving to Hamburg), who stinkingly makes his way into my life, gradually becomes a flatmate who helps with cooking (designing the website, offering my help to those affected).
I seem to have the ability to allow or even provoke such transformations. I was never aware of this, but through the conversation with Oliver, it came into my view. If I did not have this ability, I would have probably already despaired of life.
The alchemist describes the process from the state of “not wanting to have” up to that of “integrating into life”. However, it is not about resignation and surrender (because then the lead would remain lead), but about discovering the friendly eyes. It is about seeing the good in things or processes, or even to help the good a little bit along(coffee, washing machine).
Wir sitzen uns gegenüber, schweigend, fast feindselig,
sehen uns nicht an, und wenn doch, nur kurz,
schauen schnell wieder weg.
Ich will Dich nicht, wollte Dich nie, hätte gern Nein gesagt,
aber Du hast Dich nicht darum geschert,
warst ganz plötzlich bei mir.
Du gehst nicht mehr, nicht freiwillig, machst Dich breit und breiter,
und fragst nicht einmal, ob Du bleiben darfst,
ob Du willkommen bist.
Dein Mantel ist dreckig, der Gestank raubt mir den Atem,
ich könnt´ heulen, schreien, um mich schlagen,
aber Du sitzt nur da.
In dem Gesicht, in das ich eben noch schlagen wollte,
entdecke ich zwei freundliche Augen,
ach, zum Teufel damit!
Gerade noch wollt´ ich Dich rauswerfen, mit Sack und Pack,
aber vorher brauch´ ich einen Kaffee,
willst Du auch ´ne Tasse?
Schlürfen verbindet uns nun, aber bild´ Dir nichts drauf ein,
nach dem Kaffee gehst Du, keine Frage,
ich meine es todernst.
Wir sitzen uns gegenüber, ruhig, und spüren beide,
dass dieser Kaffee nicht das Ende ist,
sondern erst der Anfang.
Beim Genuss des Kaffees und Rattern der Waschmaschine
lauschen wir still dem Gluckern des Wassers
und geben uns die Hand.
Ich hab fast vergessen, wie es war, bevor Du brutal
meine Wohnungstür eingetreten hast -
komm, hilf mir beim Kochen!
A haiku is a short poem, usually spanning three lines. The aim is to portray an observation as briefly as possible. The focus is on the here and now, on things that happened on the “outside”.
Haiku remain untitled and don’t necessarily have to rhyme. Modern haiku can deviate from the traditional length of exactly 17 syllables.
This rule does, however, apply to the scorbutic-headed wanderer of worlds Danru Joanna Machandel, who knows his every life is beautiful, his every cell pulses with life and gratefulness, his every breath takes in the fulness and abundance of life, his every joy he experiences when the richness of space brings him bestowments! …thus were the words of the poet.
About pirates and other creatures
I was twelve years old when I first realised my calling was to be a pirate. That's a really confusing realisation — at least it was in my case. I was a blonde girl with blue eyes and always happy — girls like me were not supposed to become pirates. My family made it quite clear to me that a modern pirate in modern culture is one of the worst things I could possibly become. They told me how bad pirates were, how brutal. They asked me if I really wanted to be one of these creatures. Of course, my answer had to be "no" — the little good girl inside me surrendered. At least that was what I was pretending in order to fit into my place in my family’s world. Inside, I knew that the meaning of being a pirate was so much bigger than my family could understand. So even though I started to believe them — that being a pirate is something bad — I kept escaping into the world of Captain Jack Sparrow and tried to figure out how I could create a "good" pirate’s life. My crush on Jack Sparrow was enormous. When I think of my childhood, I realise that Captain Jack Sparrow wasn't the first character who tried to tell me something. Even before that, I felt connected to Astrid Lindgren’s character Pippi Longstocking. Pippi is the Queen of her own world (and a pirate). I wanted to follow her lifestyle. At least until my mother intervened. One of those typical situations: I told my mother that I want to live like Pippi Longstocking. She asked me if I understood that being like Pippi Longstocking would mean that I wished my mother to be dead. That's only logical, since in the story Pippi’s mother had passed away. I still remember how bad I felt, I never meant to harm or hurt my mother! So I shot this dream down. On the other hand, a part of me was certain that there had to be a way of living like Pippi Longstocking without having to hurt my mother or appearing to my family as too different. Even though I tried to not be a pirate it didn't work out as well as I wished. I always got in trouble with the systems of modern culture. I fought against my schoolteachers and against all the things that had to be a certain way, that I had to do because “that’s how things are”. I knew that there was something horribly wrong with all these concepts. Sometimes I was just about ready to give up. On those occasions it was my mother who told me: swimming upstream might be harder than going with the flow but if you keep doing it you will be able to truly be yourself. Those words hat a huge impact on me. They gave me confidence. Probably more than my mother thought. I felt like nobody around me was really interested in the things I wanted, the things I loved or what I had to share with the world. What is more, I didn't really understand the world. I felt so lonely, and I was seriously concerned about my mental health. I could do and see things other people couldn't. Whenever I tried to ask someone about those things, I was told to forget about the fairy tales and focus on reality. There was so much confusion in my daily life. I didn't understand why I had to do so many things I didn’t want to do. Or why such a large number of people around me just kept doing all the things they didn’t really want to do. What mattered was my education and how it could ensure my future would be safe. A plan of a linear life with a good job and hopefully almost no risks. Most of us live in this game.
When I realised that the reasons I felt so “wrong” all my life were all those expectations from others and my efforts to fit in with modern culture and that changing school university would not make a difference I got really sad. I cried for a few days, and after that sadness came joy about every new possibility. I don't have to play a game I don't want to play. Life doesn't have to be the way my parents and grandparents showed me. The possibility of living as a pirate and a witch and a lover and so much more in just one life exists. Free of all the expectations other people and I put on myself. Free of all the self-condemnation. I guess there are a hundred ways to exit this game. I personally found that I need to trust myself and accept that there is nobody who will live my life and make my choices for me. So here I am. Step by step I am waking up. And the most beautiful change is that I am not lonely anymore. There are witches and pirates around me, and they are all trying to figure out their ways. I have always been quite well-connected to myself and when I started to actually listen to this very deep and lovely part of myself, I started to grow and free myself. That is a wonderful first step. Listen to yourself and stop lying to yourself about the thousands of things you are supposedly “fine” with! That is where the fun part begins! It is to not live other people’s life — to instead live my own honest life with all the things I want to do. Only by doing that I will be able to serve this planet well. Radical honesty with yourself is a huge step in finding your true self. It might sometimes be hard but it’s worth it! I have learned things about myself I could have hardly even imagined before. If you want to learn more about yourself and your motivations, I invite you to try the radical honesty self-experiment. It means to be absolutely honest with yourself in every situation. Enjoy!
VERSETZE DICH KÜNSTLICH
IN DIE NICHT MEHR EINZUHOLENDE GEGENWART
IN DIE VON GEDANKEN UND HYPOTHESEN
DER SCHMERZ IST SINNLICH
GLÜCK IST RELATIVIERT IN PURPUR FARBENEN
VON PLÜSCH DURCHZOGENEN ENTSCHEIDUNGEN
JA, ICH WILL
ODER DANKE NEIN
ES BEWEGT SICH
DEM ZIEL ENTGEGEN
DIE STRAHLEN DER SONNE WÄRMEN
DAS EIS SCHMILZT
WIRD EINS MIT DEM MEER
NUR EIN LUFTZUG
INTENSIV UND FEUCHT
STREIFT DEN POL
ERINNERT AN DIE LIEBE
WÄRMENDE STRAHLEN DER SONNE
VERSCHLUNGEN VOM EISMEER
EIN DEN POL STREIFENDER LUFTZUG
ERINNERT AN DIE LIEBE
Der Käfer auf dem Boden
umrahmt von nackten Füßen
kommt mir gerade recht.
Mein Blick folgt ihm schon lange
wie er sehr zügig krabbelnd
den weiten Weg fortsetzt.
Ich möcht ihn so gern ärgern
und stell den linken Nacktfuß
genau auf seinen Pfad.
Der Käfer bleibt nicht stehen
biegt ab und schlägt ´nen Haken
läuft weiter wie gehabt.
Mein Atem fließt nun langsam
sehr ruhig jetzt
ich stehe auf und trockne
die Tränen von der Haut.
“Still waters run deep“– this sentence has been with me for as long as I remember. I wanted badly to express myself, but could not. None of what was inside me found its way to the outside. That the effects of this state were not always good is evident. Approximately 8 years ago I discovered by chance that I could express things that are important to me through my works.
My inside to the outside…it is possible.
Everything you can see here is made of spackling paste and was never meant to be seen. Now it is visible all the same.
The sculptures show the ups and downs of a long life. I was always afraid to make a fool of myself.
It helped me a lot to express myself in this way. It still helps me and that is very good.
It doesn’t hurt to show myself here either. That is what surprises me the most.
Ich habe Phasen wie der Mond.
Manchmal, da ist nur ein Lichtstreifen von
mir übrig und die Schatten machen den Rest
unsichtbar. Dann bin ich meistens allein zu Haus.
Manchmal, da bin ich zwischen den Dingen.
Da fühl ich mich halb voll, halb leer. Nicht
ganz richtig, nicht ganz falsch. Gerade mittig,
durchschnittlich, gut und schlecht.
Manchmal, da fühl ich mich rund. Im Licht.
Angestrahlt und hell leuchtend, da fühl ich mich
gigantisch groß. Da sind keine Schatten, da
bin nur ich. Nur ich und die Welt und die Nacht
Und manchmal, da verschwinde ich. Alles
Schatten. Licht nur eine Erinnerung an bessere
Tage. Da vergisst mich die Welt. Da herrscht
Dunkelheit in meiner Nacht.
Diese Nacht wird unendlich lang.
Doch die nächste kommt bestimmt. Nicht
verzweifeln, die Welt bleibt nicht stehen.
Da ist ein Silberstreifen an meinem Himmel.
Und ich habe Phasen wie der Mond.
Ich bin das Ganze und das Dazwischen.
Ich bin das Halbe und das Nichts.
Ich bin Licht und Dunkelheit.
Ich hab Phasen wie der Mond.
Katy and I wrote that following poem together.
Hier bleibe ich,
lasse die starken Winde
durch mein Haar,
trinke die Sonnenuntergänge,
Muschelbänke an der Ostseite
Hier bleibe ich,
Mar de otoño,
¿Qué me traes?
Tus olas cantando
de tiempos felices
Mar de otoño,
aquí me quedo
en tu orilla
Mirando al mar
I'm on the wrong path and I know it
And I secretly want to show it
With this tear falling from my eye
On my way home from a job I don't like
I'm on the wrong path and I feel it
So I stuff my feelings
By eating more chocolate than anyone should
When asked how I'm doing I say "I'm good"
I know it is the wrong path
It's not where I want to go
I just follow it cause it's the only path I know
I let out my surpressed sexuality in a one night stand
When I'm drunk and unable to set boundaries with a man
And it's leaving me feeling like a whore
And I ease the pain by drinking more
And I know it is the wrong path
It's the only path I know
To step out of this pattern means not knowing where to go
I'm on the dark side and I know it
I'm on the wrong path and I own it
I'm a surviver, it's a tough life
I'm a lone wolf in this cold night
Many painful years have made me who I've become
And now I cry alone not to bother anyone
Searching for a way
To get away from this pain
Although I am afraid
This is as good as it gets for me
It's as good as it gets
I call my little sister up on the phone
To ask her how she's doing on her own
I don't call her as often as I should
I ask her how she's doing, she says "I'm good"