Monthly Archives: November 2013

Take the pieces

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Recently, I stumbled over a song by Biffy Clyro I could absolutely, totally connect with. I’m sure you’ve experienced something like that before. When you listen to the words of someone, be it in a song, a book or whatever, and you just wanna scream “yes” from the top of your lungs because you feel like that person is exactly speaking your mind. In the case of that song (which is called “Machines”) it doesn’t feel like my current self is speaking. But the self of a couple of months ago. When I was going through my rough patch.

I’ve started falling apart, I’m not savouring life
I’ve forgotten how good it could be to feel alive

That’s exactly how I felt only a while back when I was trying to cope with the aftermath of my breakdown. I don’t think I realized back then how little I was actually living. And how much I was just functioning. I recently talked about that time with the boyfriend and he said that I seemed sad all the time. And I think I was. Even though I tried to have a good time. I tried to enjoy life. But it was SO hard. I seemed fine on the outside, but inside there were demons fighting. Those demons are called panic attacks and I was no stranger to them.

After my grandpa had died when I was 13 I had my first encounter with them. And they accompanied me for years. Years in which I gave up on almost all my hobbies and social life. I was still trying to do things teenagers normally do, but fear was a constant companion for me. Until I decided that this wasn’t the way I wanted to lead my life. And they magically disappeared almost completely. I can tell you the human psyche is a tricky thing! To be honest, I didn’t expect these attacks to ever come back again. Yet they did. During the worst time, I had minor attacks on an almost daily basis, usually on the way to or from work (which tells you a lot about the reasons, I guess). It felt like a weight was pushing on my chest, I wasn’t able to breathe properly and I felt like I was gonna pass out any second. I was close to crying many times. And I just wanted to go home and curl up on my couch. Instead I went to work and functioned the way I was supposed to. In a way, my breakdown came as a relief because it was telling people something wasn’t right with me. It was a cry for help of some sort. People at work were very supportive and I had the greatest support from the boyfriend I could ever imagine. Especially since we hadn’t been together for a very long time back then and I am forever grateful to him for sticking by me. But despite all this the panic wasn’t completely gone for a long time. I forced myself to ignore it. To just do what I wanted to do despite the fear lingering in the background. Sometimes it worked well, others it didn’t. And it took months until I felt that I didn’t have to be scared of life anymore.

When I’m trying to think back to my last panic attack now I can’t even remember the time it happened. It must’ve been some time in early summer. I got through this rough patch. And I can tell you it wasn’t easy. I think the fact that I need to talk about it here now and then speaks for that. It’s something I still need to process. But I gained back my grip on life. I can live my life to the fullest again. I enjoy it with all my heart. I can smile and laugh and fool around again. I wasn’t able to do all these things a while ago. But things have changed so much for the better and I’m glad I didn’t give up hope. And I want to tell you that you shouldn’t either. Whatever it is you’re going through, don’t give up. Hang in there. Get some help if you need to. It’s ok to not be well. There’s no shame about it. It would only be a shame if you gave up on this beautiful live. So just don’t. And let me know if you need to talk.

The missing piece

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DSC02722So, I’m sitting here on my couch constantly checking my phone. Staring at it, hoping that my telepathic powers will magically make it utter a sound. This morning, the boyfriend left for another business trip to the US. A short one. He’ll be back by the weekend. But still I know that I will only be able to sleep tonight if I know that he has arrived safely. I also know that it’s probably still gonna be a while until I’ll receive that message. But I keep staring at my phone, just in case. And I know that I’m gonna miss him like crazy, even though he’s only gone for a few days. When I came home to my empty flat after work, it felt really awkward to know that tonight, he’s not gonna come home. That I’m gonna have the evening all to myself. And tomorrow. And the day after. And after. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t know what to do with myself. We’re busy doing stuff on our own all the time. And I believe this is important for a healthy relationship. But knowing that he’s on the other side of the ocean right now is strange. Knowing that I can’t just go and see him if I want to.

I think it’s hard to understand for people who’ve never experienced something like this. Heck, I didn’t understand it until I found my missing piece. And now it’s all so clear to me. Sometimes I stil can’t believe how lucky I am to have found him. You know, someone who completely gets you and is willing to love you for who you are. Nothing more or less. And you feel exactly the same way. We were just talking about that on the weekend. We were celebrating our first anniversary (can you believe it!?) and the boyfriend had organised a surprise weekend for me in a spa town. Noone has ever done something like this for me. Never ever. It was so amazing and perfect. Better than anything I’d ever imagined. We had a cozy room, we went for a nice dinner with lots of wine, went for a walk in the park and relaxed at a spa. I wouldn’t have needed it, but it was definitely the icing on the cake. All I would’ve needed was to be with him. Because when I’m with him I am home. I forget about all the crap that’s going on. I feel safe. And that’s how I know I’ve found my missing piece. Because with him I’ll never be incomplete again. And this is the most incredible feeling in the world!

Edit: While I wrote this I received a text from the boyfriend. He has arrived safely. And he misses me too already. I guess we’re a hopeless case. 😉

Musings on Music: 2 shows, 2 worlds

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November has been a rather exciting month for me concert-wise. I went to see 30 Seconds to Mars (a band I’m having a slight obsession with and which, of course, you know if you’re an avid reader of this blog). Twice. For the fourth and fifth time this year. And the sixth time in total (as I said, slight obsession). I also went to see Biffy Clyro who are a fairly new discovery of mine and who have become one of my favourite bands over the past months. I’d already seen them play at a smaller festival this summer and was already blown away. So I was dying to see them play a headline show. While both bands are making rock-ish music, their shows and the experiences I had there couldn’t have been more different. And here’s why.

Mars were playing at the Festhalle here in Frankfurt which is a big arena that can fit more than 13.000 people. I’m not a huge fan of such big ass venues and this one in particular. I just prefer the atmosphere of a more intimate venue and the sound in such a wide space can be pretty crappy. Not to speak of getting a decent view of the stage when you’re stuck in a crowd of thousands of people (and you tend to be a little claustrophobic like me). Luckily, this time we had the privilege of having early entry into the venue before all the people with general admission came in. This was because we’d purchased access to the soundcheck which was amazing btw. I loved it a lot more than the actual show because there were probably only about 100 people there, we got to hear songs that never get played during the regular shows and the band seemed a lot more relaxed, too. Anyway, due to the early access me and the friend I was with saved us a spot in second row. I usually love being at the front because that’s where the action happens. There’s nothing worse than people who stand around like they’re glued to the ground and usually these people are not to be found at the front. Since it was still 1,5 hours until the support band was supposed to start we sat down and so did everyone around us.

Until the general admission people came in. When I saw them running inside like they were chased by a lion on the loose, I was still laughing. But not for long. There were 2 girls running right towards us. And they didn’t give a shit that we were sitting there. They just ran over us. I’m not kidding! I was barely able to pull my hand out of they way or they would’ve crushed it, I’m sure. Once they got past us, they tried to pull the girls in the front who had gotten up by then off the barrier. It was ridiculous! And sad at the same time. There was a huge riot going on, everybody was screaming at each other and I was THIS close to leave. But that wasn’t easy anymore since people kept flooding in. After a couple of minutes I was barely able to move because they kept pushing so hard from behind. I couldn’t believe it! There we were hours away from the actual show and they were pushing like maniacs. As if this would make all the people in from of them magically disappear.

I don’t know how many times I told my friend I was going to leave. And I don’t know how I managed to stay to be honest. It was hot and annoying and I knew that this definitely wasn’t going to be the worst. And I was right. The pushing already got worse when the support act came on, but when Mars entered the stage it was just insane. I felt like being at war which is funny because they actual have an album which is called This is War. I had thousand of people pushing in my back and the ass of the girl in front of me in my stomach as she was trying not to get smashed into the barrier. Usually, I love to jump around and throw my limbs in every possible direction, but I wasn’t even able to jump because I was stuck between people. Needless to say that I wasn’t able to enjoy the show very much. I constantly had to watch out not to get crushed. In retrospect, it probably would’ve been wiser to just go in the back. But I don’t even know if it would’ve been possible to get out of there unless I’d tried to escape over the barrier. After the show I was really sad about this whole experience. This night should’ve been all about music and enjoying ourselves. Instead it was about getting as close to the front as possible and about getting the band’s attention. It’s not like I didn’t know that a big part of this fanbase behaves that way. I’ve heard things and I’ve seen glimpses of it before. But I’ve been at the front before and never have I seen people lose their common sense and respect for each other in a way like that. It still makes me angry thinking about it. So you can find me in the back next time. For sure.

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Cut to Biffy Clyro. This show took place at the Stadthalle in Offenbach which only fits 4.000 people. I guess you can imagine how tiny it seemed to me after the last arena show. While it is still somewhat of a mystery to me how Biffy are not that famous in Germany (because honestly, I think they are brilliant, amazingly talented musicians), I was also happy to be able to see them in such an intimate atmosphere. Me and the boyfriend arrived only after doors had opened. We got rid of our coats. Went to the toilet. Got some drinks. And still got a spot on the far right side of the barrier where we had a fairly good view of the stage. People were loosely standing around, talking, everything was so relaxed. There was a lot of space and noone was trying to fight over a spot with someone. It was heaven!

Even when the band came on, it stayed as relaxed as it was. I was happy to have enough space to jump around and go crazy. And so were other people. This time it really was all about the music. For both the band and the crowd. I’m pretty sure Biffy wouldn’t even mind if there wasn’t a crowd cheering for them. I think they would’ve as much fun just being by themselves. Because all they want is to be on that stage with their instruments in their hands and play. And holy shit are they good at it! I’d actually go as far as to say that they’re one of the few bands whose songs actually sound better live than on the album. And this doesn’t happen too often, at least in my experience. The crowd seemed to be as thrilled as me and the boyfriend because they were jumping and clapping and singing. Of course, the jumping wasn’t enough in my opinion. It never is, but I’ve gotten used to that by now and I don’t really care anymore. I’d even jump if I was the only one doing it, no problem. There were even a few crowdsurfers which I thought was a bit stupid adventurous since there were quite a few gaps in the crowd. But everyone seemed to get out fine in the end. After the show, I was absolutely stoked! I love that feeling so much. When you’ve just witnessed some great art and talent right in front of your eyes and ears and you’ve let go of everything to just be in that very moment. Right there. No worries, no problems, they all fade away for a little while, so you can just be and breathe. This is the reason I go to concerts. And I want to applaud Biffy Clyro for giving me exactly that.

Have you had any recent concert experiences, good or bad? Please share them!

2 years!

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When I came here last week to write a post, I noticed that the notification button on the top of the page was blinking orange. This is usually to tell me that someone started to follow my blog, liked or commented on a post. I’m always very curious and excited when this happens (because it doesn’t that often). But this time, it wasn’t a usual notification.It was an anniversary notification. From WordPress. Wow, I thought. Has it really been 2 years already? Did I really manage to keep this blog going for such a long time, at least more or less? Unbelievable!

When I went to bed a little later that night, I couldn’t help but think of my life 2 years ago. And while I was going back in time in my mind, the boyfriend came into the bed room. He looked at me and said: “I was just thinking how everything right now is the way it’s supposed to be. The only thing I wish for is to have more time for making music. But other than that I’m happy with the way things are.” I looked at him in disbelief because he was speaking exactly what I was thinking the moment before he entered the room! It’s not the first time this has happened. Soul mates and all that, huh!

2 years ago I was single. My life was a bit stuck in a job I wasn’t happy with anymore and a private life that was lacking a direction. It was a turning point for sure and I see this blog as a first step into my new life. Writing down my thoughts helped me to reflect, to get a clearer vision on what I really wanted. And sharing this with other people who gave me feedback and reassurance helped me even more. So, I want to thank you, dear readers, for being around over the past 2 years. For listening to my moanings and doubts and sharing my joys and dreams. I am very grateful you’re sticking around. And I hope you will do so for the next bazillion years. Cheers!

InspiraShot: Navy Pier

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Oh dear, I just realized that I haven’t posted in over a month again. I can’t believe how fast times is flying by these days. It’s only a couple of weeks until Christmas. And only a little over 2 months until we move into our new apartment. Holy shit!

I spent half of the last month in the US on our road trip around Lake Michigan. Even though it was probably a little too late season-wise, it was beautiful! The leaves were still colourful and we did have sunshine and blue skies occasionally – like in the pic above which was taken at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Ah Chicago, love that city! Even though it was freezing cold (we even saw a few snow flakes falling from the sky) and, of course, windy. We enjoyed stunning views from the John Hancock Observatory, visited the Aquarium, took an architectural cruise on the river and had deep dish pizza at Pizzeria Uno. We also enjoyed nature at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Pictured Rocks up on Lake Superior which were both amazingly beautiful. I really feel like this trip brought me back to life in a lot of ways. I can feel my creative juices flowing again. I can breathe a lot easier again. It was a much needed rest to put a lot of things back into perspective. And I realized that everything in my life is exactly how it’s supposed to be. More or less. Of course there are things I want to be changed, that still need to evolve. But I’m ready to take them on and bring them to the next level, especially when it comes to music which we’ve been neglecting a bit this year. I also got a few blog posts in my head I want to write down once I get the chance to. Which will be soon hopefully. November is a crazily busy month for me, but I’ll do my best to keep this blog updated regularly.

Have you been on any trips recently? Please share!