Category Archives: Uncategorized

Julius

Time to Say Goodbye

Three years ago a new friend, well I did not really know him too well, he was my opera singing teacher, I took a sabbatical at the Conservatory in the Hague, 6 months of opera singing lessons, I always wanted to learn singing so why not go for the most extreme, Stace style, anyhow, so his name was Bo, an exchange student from China studying a masters in Opera singing at the Conservatory in the Hague, it is a very good conservatory mind you, one of the most respected and hardest to get into, so I wanted to go through the experience of what it would be like to study there. So, I signed up for the pedagogic training, this is where the masters students must teach so other students can apply to be their guinea pigs and for a very small cost or no cost at all, I think I payed nothing, get 6 months of training in an instrument or singing class of your choice. So I signed up and got given Bo.

My relationship with Bo was volatile. But I learnt much, also about myself. It was an intense, emotional and definitely interesting 6 months, from Bo trying to convince me that I could not even attempt to try to sing “Time to Say Good Bye” by Andrea Bocelli for our end of year every pedagogic student presents their new 6 months trained skill variety show, even trained opera singers take years to get there, it was just not for me and yes it took some time and some falls of heart to dissuade me from following this fantasy no matter how many times I practiced at the top of my lungs with Andrea at home the verses of the much beloved Time to Say Goodbye, with all of my heart, (apparently just heart is not enough), so the song I got given, much to my dismay was “I Dreamed a Dream”, from Les Miserables. The supervisor who was overseeing our progression and relationship in the end, after Bo could not dissuade my stubborn ass mind, had to intervene and said this song is much more fitting for you, why don’t you give it a try? Shock. Horror, did she even realise what she was signing me up to do? A song about disillusionment and the shattering of dreams?? It took me a while to become immune to the heavy sense of the bad omenness which this new intervention suggested, but I had to climb down from my fantasies and so this was the song I performed. I knew I had it inside out but of course on the actual day of the concert managed to mess up. Anyhow, in all fair sightedness it was not a bad attempt, at my first public singing performance. Good enough, for a 6 month pedagogic students variety show. I was saved by some more middle aged personas with some quite out of tune drums rhythms, thank god.

But yes, where was I, this is a story about Julius. So in the 6 months spent fighting with Bo, and yes we fought a) because of my stubbornness and as he said wanting to get immediate results without putting any work in, guilty I know and b) because of his total lack of organisation, absent mindedness and non-attention to his one and only, Jees the whole thing made me angry. But I have to say I learned a lot from Bo, from my interaction with him. First of all he was Chinese, non European, alas I was so happy to be able to communicate with him outside of the politeness, we both allowed ourselves to be emotional and irrational, it is as if I felt a familiarity a cultural likemindedness. Thank god, non European, flames and fire accepted. I felt ok to act in my all delusional Russianness, in all its excessiveness and splendour. It was ok. But where does Julius fit in? So at some point towards the end of our 6 month training, and Bo and I exchanged freely thousand time messages on WhatsApp and Facebook, about him being late, about him forgetting, about me being annoyed, no boundaries in that and then one day he floods me with 10s and 10s of images of this cute little fluff ball writing things like oh ain’t he cute and look at him and goooojeegoo and gaga ga, but in a more of Chinese minded way. I suspect now, in hindsight, it was all part of a cruel and heartless abandonment plan. But little did I know then. He must have somehow, between our rages and fits of boundless laughter, oh we laughed a lot, at each other mostly, figured out my weak spot for fluff balls and for anything cute, cuddly and small in general, guilty again. And so I immediately, being the spontaneously impulsive person I am, replied with lots of hearts and heart shaped eyes and all that other unnecessary dressage in the heat of my cuteness extase and then Bo lay the bomb; “Do you want him? Smiley.”

Somehow, my long term thinking and any sort of soberness flies straight out of the window when aroused to such emotionally spontaneous highs, it is good to be aware of oneself in such delusions, lest you commit to something which could take years to resolve. Well, here was pure innocence, but still in hindsight, it is good to be aware of the self. Don’t get me wrong, I do not in any way regret any of the turn out of the events and the next three years of my life which will be detailed in here (summarised) shortly, but as hindsight always does, it gives one a fresh sense of perspective, a calm outlook at the situation and allows one to make some conclusions about one self (Eu thinking hat on), in short, it helps. So, I readily accepted. Actually I think Bo made a group and included me and Sara, the pianist, who played the piano as I sang my one debut about broken dreams to post to the potential would be Ba (Julius’s first name pre-Julius) mamas the little baby. Sara was more apprehensive, asking how would he live and having all these mature, down to earth, realistic and pragmatic real life situation questions and I remember thinking, in my exalted state at the time, Jesus why all this worry crap, why be so hesitant, why for gods sake hold yourself back in the name of cuteness, he is sooooooooo cute, I will take him of course.” Somehow Sara’s apprehension I believe somewhere even speeded up my millisecond decision to adopt this thing. In seconds the deal was done, I was the new proud parent of Ba (renamed Julius) with no idea what who and how it involved, the actual maintenance – details, I thought in the name of love. I also felt somehow that this was an act of god as some months before, and some friends will attest I was wishing for a pet, we were at Sophia’s former place in Utrecht, having a nice lady lunch and talking about pets and me expressing my urgent desire for a cuddly animal, which I imagined more to manifest in the shape of a cat or a dog, your normal images, so when the Ba stream flooded my Whatsapp I recognised god’s hand immediately, the Universe answering my prayers, so hastily went along to aid in completing this mission and pick little Ba up.

When I arrived at Bo’s apartment, there he was a tiny little creature not even 2 months old. Why did you get him? Because I was lonely and wanted something to cuddle. Why don’t you want him? I actually don’t remember the answer to the question but now, 3 years later and with full experience with Ba now Julius understand, he is just not cuddly !!!! But how can you know that, only having someone or something like a baby bunny for 2 months. I think Bo just didn’t want the responsibility so he passed it onto me, Bo style and somehow even turned it into a deal. I ended up paying 20eu to him for the cage. These Chinese, natural business minds. I remember, in the midst of some bunny diarrhoea incident thinking, Jeeees what a victim I’d been, to take on this little bundle of nerves and pay for it also. There were some happy days of course, but the majority was not cups and fairy pies. But ok, so 20eu less, a cage, a free Nike bag (he gave me his gym bag to transport little Julius in) as I was by public transport. So off we went, cage folded in my hands, the bag, little 2month old Julius in it, terrified, having peed all over himself. Yes it must have been terrifying to have been locked up in that bag, Julius never liked climbing into bags since, don’t blame him. So I brought him to my place and gosh was he tiny.

The rest is a bit of a blur, but in the 3 years I had him I did try on various occasions to hand him down to other openly loving souls who shared in the soft spotness for this furry but moody little creature. Julius was not one to cuddle with. Hell no, this was a little Prince, Emperor, clad in bunny gear. A lion head, the king of rabbits and boy did he behave like that. Julius the Fluffius. I even remember when I brought him to the vet for the first time, she was like dang this is one fierce bachelor, with some huge balls. And I have to admit I did not want him getting his balls chopped off, no matter how many times he sprayed my couch (yes we had to get a new one) with his sperm and tried to hump things and friends, countless. But anyhow, so in my 3 year period with Julius I have had the pleasure of being surrounded by some great friends, deep souls and caretakers who have partaken in care, sometimes for extended periods of time, which I secretly wished would go on endlessly, guilty again, sorry for that you know who you are and was fully appreciative of their willingness and care. Why you may think did I wish to give up this creature on countless occasions? Well first of all, I always felt like a bad mum. I was always out, I did not really play with him or give him the attention I thought he deserved. Yes I gave him shelter, I gave him food, an array of fresh leaves and vegetables (even though he loved apples they were not so good for his stomach or my floors) I made sure he was getting everything and cleaning his cage regularly, I was taking care of him, but I did not feel a very strong bond between us so did not really invest too much time on trying to be his friend, he always seemed to be minding his own business anyway and that was ok. But after a while I started to think, what if he is bored? Others also commented, he needs a friend. I did not want to have too many bunnies and also I travel a lot whether I am aware of this or not, I travel extensively and the headache of having to find a temporary home and the pain of having to go through friends and feel like a burden and hand over to them my own inability to fulfil a caretaker’s responsibility was just a lot to go through with. So long story short, or well, not even long but the middle, its not important.

After having come back from India, my longest trip yet, 2 months, I realised its just not fair on him and those who I keep asking to take care of him to go on this way, so having to stop lying to myself that I can do it all, have little Julius and go away and and and, I thought ok the reasonable thing to do here is to give him away, to that shelter that that rabbit obsessed vet who proclaimed his manliness earlier suggested, Der Knaaghof, where animal rights come first, and where the main concern is to make sure that bunnies live a happy and social life as they deserve since they do not deserve to live alone. Meanwhile at my place Julius was turning into a Zen monk, meditating hours and hours on end, sitting silently in the same position sometimes for days, and whenever attempts to come and pet him came, either, and this was like 20% of the time, he would sort of melt into the floor, half close his eyes and allow you to pet his furs, or, and this was 80% of the time, start to ruff and fluff up and make protesting leave me alone sounds, trying to scratch and bite you with his little paws, as if you caught him in a moment when he was just not up for it, and run off. Definitely his way or no way. This was, sadly for the majority of his lately existence at mine. I would say lately since oh yes, the castration, for much time I tried to resist and withhold for as long as I can him not getting his balls chopped off, somewhere deep inside I felt criminal to deny him the one pleasure rabbits are so known for and knowing that his balls are huge, do you really deprive a Casanova of his treasured sack? I was determined to find him a mate. Actually for some time I spent investigating into options of taking him to a breeding farm, there, I fantasised, he would be like the king of the farm, mating with all the other females, producing thousands of livestock, ah the life, and he is extremely handsome, what a waste not to have off spring, but sadly this delusion also got knocked down, there is an over infestation of rabbits in the Netherlands, no one wants to produce more, well maybe they do, but I just did not find them, maybe we should do it? That was a business idea for a time with his other mum, but a short-lived one thank god. So anyway, where was I oh yes so back to the shelter and the balls. So in the end I gave into castration, why? Well because I investigated into the option of him finding a girlfriend and the most viable option after finding a breeding farm and enjoying many females at once died, was to to find one for him at the shelter by taking him speed dating. But they only allowed castrated rabbits in! We even talked about a family outing at one point, us, his caretakers going all together to take little Julius on his first date, holding his metaphorical hands. The visions. So, there the deed had to be done and it was done, and I have to say, that after the castration, despite what all the vets and general advice said, Julius did not become more happy and less aggressive, actually the opposite. Yes he may have stopped the spraying and this is of course better for the couch, but I felt that his mood worsened, for some time he was just apathetic and then its as if he went into himself even more, he definitely matured and lost a bit of his playfulness, he just kind of zoned out. And was less loveable. Maybe the balls gave him some sense of self, taken way and all alone in the world, maybe poor little Julius was just confused. So this was shortly before India. Then abandoning mum flew away leaving him behind for 2 months. Then after coming back and feeling the guilt trip all over again, I called the shelter, for the 2nd time now, I already called once before like a year ago, to take him and how it works is you call and they put him on a waiting list, it is not immediately that they can take him in, this is a process which takes time, and the first time they called some months after initial sign in and I just didn’t have the heart, I did not want to let him go. So this time around fresh from India and less attached, I called again and they wrote him down and then corona happened and then right in the middle of it they called.

And so it was a tough ten days, a myriad of consultations with friends and family, you know who you are, a plethora of tarot spreads, countless pendulum swings, all one question, should he stay or should he go? Why all this drama I now know, it’s an underlying factor in my life, about making decisions, but with having let Julius go I realise the problem. It is about trusting and listening to the self. I have known the answer all along, all along as I tried to shove him in friends’ houses, as I tried to find strategies and ways for him to find a new home, why lie to myself when in reality I have felt for a while that he deserved a better home. And so yesterday we took him in, I postponed the day 3 times that week, and spent a lot of time ruminating over the right thing to do, I consulted my heart countless times but the answers as always were vague. In the end through some friends’ support who encouraged by saying you have wanted this for a long time and animal comes first and rabbits should not live alone and bloody hell you want him to have a partner, encouraged me to stick with my decision and not think of my selfish needy needs but think clearly and rationally, not emotionally and put him first. And yes it was sad and at the shelter I asked if I could take him back, should I change my mind and they said yes but with a bunny and I did think a few times oh this is silly let me just take him back, but then resisted, stayed put and we left. And the only thing which gave me joy was to hear that lion heads live up to 9-10 years. Julius is still 3, not in middle life as I already thought wasting away in the corner of my bathroom but young and full of life, his thirties and ready for a new life. I became excited for little Julius, not so little any more, because I thought I would not want his life to just be with me, a mother who is not sure and who has not committed 100%. I really want him to experience what its like to meet other bunnies, travel, live in new perhaps, better, more exotic places. This is the life I would wish for him, keeping him all to my self felt a bit sad and selfish and no matter how hard it was to give him up, I realised I did not give him up at all, I let him move on and I was not a bad mother at all. All that feeling of guilt, persisting, I did the best I could and for a time that was an experience we both shared but time to move on. But, the feeling which I realised this morning, the first morning without Julius, which I wanted to share which spurred me to sit down and write non stop this story which is now reaching over 3 thousand words is that I did not feel remorse at all. Actually, I felt the opposite. I felt free and I felt relief. Relief for not having neglected myself anymore. Finally, the realisation came. It was not only Julius I felt I was neglecting, who I really wasn’t but the guilt of it all hung heavy in the air over the past three years, it was actually myself. Jesus, what relief, once you actually have the courage to listen to yourself. And this is what I wanted to share.

A big big thank you to Katarina Petrovic, Daniel van Straalen, Mabel Calvert Verbruggen, Sophia Bulgakova, Stefano Zucchini, Michaël Roumen, Karina Avakyan, Pieter Peers, Liina Liblik, Caitlin Sarah Watson, Floor Knoote, Michelle Theodotou, Katerina Iacovides and Natalie Ktena for being there and being involved, even if only remotely caring for and partaking in this little creature’s (but with big attitude) life. May he continue his journey, full of adventures ahead and lead a colourful and vivid life as his highness deserves.

ps. Don’t get me wrong I loved Julius dearly in my own way and tried to make it work and we had some fun times and he wasn’t all grump balls all of the time (maybe 85% of the time) and there were moments of pure joy and happiness and fun and cuddles and those were the moments for which I was prepared to keep going, those were the moments which made it so hard to let him go, which kept tripping me up and delaying the inevitable, but in the end, I just knew this would be the best for us both, and when I finally did it and went through with it, the confirmation from the universe that it was the right thing to do, in the unbearable lightness of being which followed, was worth the whole experience. Dear Julius, I love you and I wish you well, we all do, onto new pastures, you fluffy ball of steel!

The Story of the Big Tear

What and how I wanted to present for the last day of our class in ‘Pataphysics failed miserably so I decided to write about it.

During the week of the week long class, we got an assignment – to explain what is ‘Pataphysics? Amongst the myriad of information which flooded our way from the great professor Matthjis van Boxsel, who, like unfailing captain of his ship, would not jump board despite the tsunami sized waves he was trying to navigate, the word “tear” resembled any slight possibility of land. So I decided this would be my starting point. In an ocean with no bearings man needs something to hold on to. It was the diagram of the 4 kinds of tear formations caused by different emotions upon which the act of crying had been based on studied under a microscope by some scientist who decided to look into this (how random and how beautiful) which sparked off the feeling of Heim. So, despite an initial mini-head explosion “ ‘Pataphysics can be so many things !!! ?!?!?!?” I decided to follow my feeling. It also had a personal connection.

Coincidentally, around the same time, I finally started to read Carl G. Jung’s “Man and His Symbols” – a read long overdue and which I have had on my bookshelf for years – travelling with me from Berlin to New York and back again but never opened, always motioned. But then last week, I decided now is the time and looked at the bookshelf and poof, NO BOOK. Panic . I must have gone through the entire contents of my bookshelf at least 5 or 6 times I swear but no trace of book. Not letting despair get the best of me I thought, well, I will just go and get it out of the library, and so I went to the KABK Library and yes they had a copy there, waiting for me. And what kind of copy was it? A much better edition than the small paperback I had at home. It was the original edition, the bigger, spacier hardback with the mandala on it. Exactly the same mandala which that Buddhist llama was holding in her hand two weeks ago when I went to her workshop on the sacred feminine, which was all about mandalas, and that is when I realized – the Subconscious is much stronger than we think. Of course once I got this book out, the one I was meant to read with the mandala on it and returned home, I recognized the small feeble writing of my paperback standing on the shelf, unmoved. Did it suddenly grow little legs and run away for a while? No. It must have stood there all this time right in front of my face but I did not “see” it. My conclusion = the Subconscious was in charge here. This will make sense later, now back to the tear.

The story actually starts with Wim T. Schippers. In my first year of Uni, when I was still a young and naive ArtScientist, our leader, Taco showed us some examples of art in his class on Metamedia. From the whole week of again, similar bouts of myriad information and tsunami floods, the work that survived was Wim T. Schipper’s “Flesje limonade gazeuse in zee bij Petten”. I still remember the feeling, in a moment torn from a somnambulistic state of sleep/wake by some higher force of clarity and thought, I thought – What a genious piece of media manipulation! Like a good conductor Schippers was able to beautifully orchestrate a curious herd of media reporters, who all came out to the sea by Petten at 11am on the 29th of October 1969 to record in history the moment when the limonade or whatever gazeuse drink he had in his hand was being spilled into the sea. And historic it was, because everybody wrote about it. In that moment I thought – this is pure genious. I think I was so excited that I did not realize that I must have made a secret pact with my Subconscious that day, that I too wanted to create a work like that. So safely the seed submerged without the slightest idea from me.

Then, two years later, the Botanical Gardens Association of the Netherlands decides to visit our University. They are particularly interested in ArtScience and come to give a talk. The theme is communicating with plants, they hold an open call, they have funding, they are looking for some artists to take part in their exhibition “Tuin Als Lab” dedicated to the different ways of how one might be able communicate with plants. Something stirs. I have to apply, and the idea just rolls out of me, no labor, no hardship, no pushing, nothing. It is as if it has all this time been inside of me, waiting for the right time to be born. I just think – I want to read great works of Russian Literature to the plants, so I apply with my proposal “Stories in the Garden”. But which one ? This is in May. In July I am in Russia and my mother, out of the blue, insists we make a pilgrimage to the great Russian writer Lev Tolstoy’s home and refuge, where he grew up and wrote most of novels – the estate of Yasnaya Poliana (Fine Meadow in Russian). So we go. There I write a letter to Lev, in which I ask him to enter my body and let his spirit guide me in the process of the reading. I do this in a desperate hope that his spirit will point me to the right book to read. After talking to some locals, I decide it has to be “Anna Karenina”. When we are on tour in his house, body guarded by sterile pre-Soviet grandmothers who bark instead of talking if you venture even a centimeter off the guided path on the premises, I decide I need to leave this letter here for Lev. But where and how? These grandmothers will eat me alive. I wish to leave it in his linen shirt which hangs above his bed. There is a pocket in it which shines, as if asking me especially for the letter. But I chicken out, I am actually afraid of these grandmothers !!! (In the story I tell everyone later I say that I do actually leave it in his pocket in his bedroom, but this is not true.) Having chickened out I feel great despair but I refuse to give up. So I stuff the letter under a cupboard in the last room in the basement, it is the final room before the tour is over, and also, apparently the room in which he actually wrote Anna Karenina – I take this as a sign and consolation for my chickening out.

Back in Holland in September my anxiety of which story by which author to read is over thanks to Lev (and my mother). It is Anna Karenina. I bring the novel with me from Moscow, and begin to read. My project is in the Leiden Hortus. For Tuin Als Lab the participating artists were allocated various Hortus Locations around the Netherlands. I knew I had to be in Leiden and so it was. On Sept 16th I started to read. Oh I forgot, two weeks before that, Joke ’t Hart, the project coordinator, contacts me – there is an interest from a newspaper to talk about the exhibition and would I be interested as one of the artists to talk about my project? Bear in mind, the newspaper world does not yet know about my idea, they just hear about the project from the Association of the Botanical Gardens in Netherlands and want to talk to an artist involved. Conveniently I am the one available. So we arrange with Till from AD for a phone interview. An article follows in the Delft version of the AD with a picture of me in my garden in Moscow that summer practicing reading to the plants (taken by my mother).

Then I got a call from the AD video department – they love what I’m doing and want to come and make a short film. So before I even start there is already a short film on AD.nl about what I am doing. Not long after I start reading in the Hortus, I get a call from the Leidsch Dagblad – they are also curious and want to talk. They must have seen it on AD. This lady was actually interested and the first one to take me seriously. So was I. At the time I truly believed it was the plants who were responsible for all this. Now, I am convinced it was my Subconscious. The combination of various media platforms attracted members of the public who came and watched me read. Following the Leidsch Dagblad article one woman came persistently, she brought me gifts and books, bought me mint tea, made little candle wax sculptures from her bees – she came many times because she believed that my reading was helping her migraines. I was ecstatic at the notion that my work was actually “curing” someone. But back to the media storm. The final eye so to say came when RTL TV Studios tracked me down via KABK. They wrote a letter to the University requesting for me and my project. The TV presenter Chantal Jansen was interested in my story and wanted to feature me as a guest in her new program called Chantal & I where she talks to people with weird hobbies. A day was organized for the shoot. At first they were reluctant to come to Leiden saying that I should come to Amsterdam to read to any random tree there, but thank god Joke was insistent and firm, telling me that I should only accept if they agreed to my terms and came to the Hortus in Leiden. I had to stand my ground. The project was there, and so I did, and they came! I did feel pretty special. There I was, reading in Russian to plants in front of Chantal Jansen for Dutch national television. It was all quite surreal and funny, a deeply satisfying experience, I enjoyed every moment and the whole time in the back of my mind kept thinking, thank you Wim T. Schippers.

My project concluded at the end of October.1 But even after the project ended, the media did not stop. I got an invitation from the BBC in London do do an interview feature relating my project to mental health issues for teenagers. And then Mediamatic in Amsterdam invited me to read to their cabbages, which resulted in further seismic media waves (even a honorary mention on the notorious Geenstijl!) and some very good photos. With this story I wanted to illustrate the power of the Subconscious. If it wasn’t for the act of Wim T Schippers stirring my Subconscious, I probably would never have stirred that day in Metamedia, and none of this would have materialized.

But, what about that tear? Well actually the presentation of my project “Stories in the Garden” and Wim T Schippers was all a cover. What I really wanted to present was my explanation for what ‘Pataphysics was which I made that week – a little illustrated story of where tears come from. The word tear must have vibrated because I cry a lot. And then that week also, thanks to Jung’s “Man and His Symbols” I was able to analyse my dreams and see the relation of a recurring dream I’ve had for years – of being in some sort of an ocean2 out of control situation, either I am in it and the waves are larger than life or I am on some island, looking at it and wanting to go inside. And coincidentally, on the Monday night after ‘Pataphysics I had the dream of a man being crashed by the waves. Then on Tuesday I was again staring out onto an ocean with waves wanting badly to jump into it. So when I woke up on Wednesday, to deal with all that water, I thought to write the story of the big tear as my definition of ‘Pataphysics. Matthjis asked us to define ‘Pataphysics on one page – half illustration and half text, so I divided the page in half and on the top drew a big big tear and then wrote the story underneath and then I drew a face and a smile and added some legs, some platts and a crown to the tear, and the tear became a princess.

But I never shared this story, because I thought it was stupid. And that is how the story was supposed to go.

bty

Some links from the media storm for further reference:

AD.nl – Bomenknuffelaar: “Ik wil vrienden worden met de bomen.” https://www.ad.nl/binnenland/bomenknuffelaar-ik-wil-vrienden-worden-met-de-bomen~vabda277d/

RTL.nl – & Chantal – Chantal gaat bomenknuffelen https://www.rtl.nl/video/27bf61a5-cc61-45ca-9caf-1d630d30eb24/

Mediamatic – Reading Tolstoj to Cabbages https://www.mediamatic.net/en/page/369560/reading-tolstoj-to-cabbages-russian-old-new-year-celebration

Geenstijl.nl – Kunstenares ‘onderzoekt of planten net zo geraakt worden door taal als mensen’. Leest voor aan kool https://www.geenstijl.nl/5140200/koekerdekoekkoekiekoekkoekoekoek/

Het Parool – Kunstenares leest Tolstoj voor… aan 10.000 kilo kool https://www.parool.nl/stadsgids/kunstenares-leest-tolstoj-voor-aan-10-000-kilo-kool~a4555971/

BBC – Reading to plants helps me fight my anxiety

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/d0d1eda4-354a-4625-aaa7-18945043665b?ns_campaign=bbc-three&ns_mchannel=social&ns_source=twitter&ns_linkname=reading_plants

1 At that time I was also in a Buddhist retreat on the Power of Time in Amsterdam. It was a Wednesday – one day after we talked about time and death.This day we were supposed to talk about how to do multiple things at one time, but something told me I had to go to the garden. The buddhists were at first concerned, can’t you wait? But I had to go, so I went, and it was the last time I talked to the trees. I had to come and say my farewell. My initial plan was to do it over the weekend after the retreat, but something just told me, the end has to come now. And indeed I was right, because that weekend my grandfather passed away so instead of being with the plants I was on the plane to Moscow to be at his funeral. Again, the Subconscious came to the rescue.
2 Dreaming of an ocean, or lots of water symbolizes emotions.

How to unlearn yourself?

 

Through this process I have learned about myself.

I became aware that I am not a maker

I became aware that I am a thinker

A planner, visionary, a dreamer, whatever you call it

But I like to spend my time thinking

And dreaming of scenarios.

Maybe they do not manifest directly

But one day they will

If I think long and hard of them.

 

It’s very easy. Just move your bed.

 

Typing sucks

a 5 in the morning piece

improvising

tingling feeling

of non sleep

go away

non sleep

this is fucking shit

rubbish

so i go on

to be personally numb

hello world

what do i have to say today

thatsssss so vip

nothing really

typing sucks.

colored dollar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

money graffiti

throwback NYC 2013

The Feeling

 

 

Its been creeping up on me, and no I will not try to make it come out perfect here. Like I always try to do, and then it does not, or the goal is set too high, and then we I just never achieve it, and then bam, a sharp turn to the other, the “dark side”. So I have had “ the feeling” pretty much all summer. I am wondering, why? I have been such a happy bunny in the last year, with work flowing in, all these exciting projects, I felt on top of the world, like I was riding the great big wave, and at some points it felt so good, I was secretly asking myself, is this real? How am I managing to do it all, and I did, and this feeling of managing to do it all felt oh so incredibly good. But now, and it started ever since I left prematurely, I fled the Graduation to go and find my parents in Nice, because I did not follow my heart, but followed my Dad’s advice that I should go and network with that Bank Director, because I need money. Money. So off I went, I cut my plans prematurely and arrived and it is not something I FELT would go well, I used the logical side of my brain, you know when you kind of feel one thing, but then your brain makes a rational calculation and suggests when maybe it will be better to do so and so, because statistically. Yea, so basically that’s how it went in my head. So on a whim, I left the Hague prematurely and went to that Summer party at the Museum organized by that Bank. And that’s when it all started and all went downhill, why? Cos I did not listen to myself.

And since then Summer has been kind of weird. I’ve been feeling not myself. Feeling like a parasite, a total underachiever, leaching off my parents. Is that a bad thing? Should I feel guilty about it? Oh but society makes me feel so bad about it. And when I was in France it was accompanied by that lethargic state, which is the worst state in the world, when you basically have no motivation and no energy to do anything, no life force through you. It is so not me, I am even scared to write about it, in case it comes back. Anyway a long story short, the whole summer feels kind of like its been out of tune. And now I am back in Hague to prepare for my Garden project which I am really looking forward too, but I am kind of, well ever so slightly plagued by this feeling. Now how to describe it, maybe when I describe it, it will help me identify it and try to live with it? Is this me? Is this me pendaluming from one extreme to another? Is anyone else actually interested to read this crap? Maybe I should just go for that walk. So the feeling is, well its like this creeping dark thing, like this weight which resides inside, a weight of uncertainty. A weight, which keeps blaming the self. A dark chip, which keeps saying you are not this, you haven’t achieved that, its basically about achieving, and comparing and wishing you had so and so’s life, who look like they have it all figured out. Is this depressed state stemming from social media, where daily you are shown streams of everyone else and you keep comparing? Just get on with your own life, stop being so envious, its ugly, its very ugly these feelings and it makes me sick to have to admit them, emanating from myself. And no love for my self. Natalie is right, love yourself gurl. Just love yourself. Why is that so freaking hard? I mean from the outside you have all the attributes, so why within this black hole chaos and a feeling of sinking, of going under? Is this how I am programmed to be, sometimes surfing the waves, sometimes going under? Maybe this is my ebb and flow and I have to recognize it and learn to live with it.

Anyhow, this rant has no purpose. About from the fact of trying to describe the feeling and again feeling underachievement, but hey, at least you tried. Don’t be so hard on yourself. We are not all made of stars.

Buenos Aires

 

at first a fog

density hanging.

 

an atmosphere of ungraspable volumes

i cannot seem to pinpoint,

even after 10 days.

 

but what i like is that the

the pigeons of the city

are the butterflies

fluttering around

 

the roots of trees

are more nutritious

than their canopies

 

and the trains

are that precisely  sky blue

i like.

 

A humider New York of sorts

with blocks to calculate the spaces in between

you seem to be designed in such a grid,

that things should add up

but they don’t somehow.

 

that subtle unexpected terminancy of the tango

yet wifi is overabundant and works extremely well

even in the most obscure of places

 

maybe its best not to have you yet fully figured out

but if the Director of the Museo National des Bellas Artes

is ready to give us Russians passports

its a good sign.

 

I quite like that he thinks we are both crazy.

You have been very good to me Buenos Aires.

Birds

 

we are all like birds

different species amongst us.

some fly closer

to pick the bread

you throw.

 

some,

the better looking ones

keep their distance.

 

 

Магнит

 

И хоть меня он разрежает
Как ухожу сразу теряюсь,
Как будто что то умирает
И очень хочется назад.

Назад застыть в его мгновении
Поправить речь, стереть сомнение
Стоять в обычном облегчении
Естественно себя вести.

Но каждый раз при столкновении
Симптомы те же: то волнение
Все тверже подтверждает
Необъяснимое явление

Что же за сила это,
что так с ног сшибает
со страшной скоростью сметает
и на мгновение в какаой то космос запускает
Но так же там и оставляет
в бестяготном пространствие висеть.

Не зная и не понимая в какую сторону теперь
Он же сказал тебе, что ничего не будит
Так почему же ты этого еще не поняла
И как растерянная лужа продолжаешь
на ровном месте расплываться
в совсем не в силах вся собраться
и продолжать, не заикаться?

Так потому что в каждом столкновении
висит хоть маленькая
но надежда
прикосновения
ведь тяги без магнитов нет.

 

The Fear

 

I have a fear of being brutally hacked and killed by a man. This fear manifests most in Russia. I believe it comes from my Grandmother. We left Russia in 1992 when I was six, so technically I never lived there but return to visit almost every year.* Every time I come, my Grandmother tells me stories. There was the one about a cannibal on the loose, whose hacked and killed several young women and sold their flesh as meat at the local market next to Metro Baumanskaya, where her flat is. I first heard this story when I was about 14, but instead of fading, as colored images normally do with age, they just keep getting more and more vivid. In the most recent one the police found a dozen fur coats in a taxi driver’s apartment, which belonged to women who he’s apparently captured and killed, disposing of their bodies in the woods, only keeping their furs as collectibles. Never go out onto the streets after dark falls she would say, you never know who might follow you home. And never ever get into a car with a stranger. It’s very common to hail a car down as a taxi in Moscow, but for me this associates with instant murder.

My Grandmother gathers her material from the news she watches on tv. Since she spends about 85 percent of her time watching tv, she is never short of material. Ever since I can remember, she’s been feeding me such material causing my fear to keep growing. I am not normally afraid anywhere else in the world, but as soon as I land in Russia, the fear takes over. It can get pretty bad, like when I am discouraging friends from visiting because it is a ‘dangerous’ country. A good friend who grew up in Moscow thinks I am totally delusional. Stop it with your paranoia and for god’s sake stop listening to your Grandma!!! But it is really not that easy to just unwind and erase it all. In my last trip, I spent about ten days in Moscow about 65 percent of which were spent slightly on edge, in that slightly tense position when you feel your neck and shoulders clenched tight and higher than they should be. Like an animal alert, on the constant look-out for danger.

When in Moscow, we stay in the countryside. It is about a 1.5 hour drive outside the city, surrounded by woods. Even though the neighbourhood is guarded 24/7 and surrounded by barbed wire, the idea that a blood-thirsty maniac with an axe or worse, a whole troupe of them could creep in in the middle of the night and rob and kill us all is very prominent. This trip round, I lay awake most nights very silently, listening to the faintest of sounds – any signal to notify their arrival. A few times I even went down to check who was making noises only to find my brother or his girlfriend rummaging around in the fridge. But this did not relax me. The worst break-ins are usually the most silent ones. And these guys are professionals using the latest technologies, like inserting sleeping gas into airways to make sure their victims don’t wake up.

In daytime, the fear subsides and almost totally disappears when I am in the city centre surrounded by people. But when I attempt to wonder outside our gates alone in the countryside, it creeps back in. One early morning I decided to brave it and go for a walk solo to take in all the beauty of the vast white outside, but all I could do was scan the surrounding birch trees, expecting a blood-thirsty maniac with an axe to jump out and drag me into the woods.

What brings the worst panic however is getting home at night from Moscow. To avoid the situation, I usually stay home all together or, if I have to go out, make sure to arrange a car with a family friend or a driver who we know in advance. But there are those moments when I find myself in the centre of Moscow and it is past midnight and no prior arrangements have been made. It happened a few nights before the new year, when my brother decided to show his Argentinian girlfriend, who was visiting Russia (and Europe) for the first time, the Red Square. We were at a nearby bar and it was 1:00 am – way too late to call and disturb anyone we knew about driving. The only choice was to call a taxi. But how? Not a local, and with no wireless on my phone, I felt the desperate handicap a stranded tourist might feel in a strange foreign land. Not knowing who to call and having no one reliable to consult on the matter induced great panic. The only option seemed to hail a car from the street…

We walked around the side of the street and saw a taxi in front of us with a handwritten cardboard sign in the window: Free. The sign was crookedly propped on a toilet roll on the front seat to stand upright. The handwriting looked ugly. The driver must have been one of the disheveled looking men chatting outside. Men, and men only. The whole thing smacked of a cheap horror film. Although I really did not want to, I approached them coldly and rudely. I only find myself  being cold and rude to people in Russia by the way. Perhaps this is because there, I am constantly afraid. He names a ridiculously cheap price. My brother jumps at the saving opportunity and instantly climbs inside. But I am skeptical. Why is this man giving us a ¼ of the price? Is this his way of luring us in? We verify the address together on google maps. He is quite advanced for his age with all the technology in his disheveled looking vehicle, or the times have also moved on in the former USSR. He realizes it is not where he thought it would be, but a tiny village almost in Zvenigorod, an ancient Russian town with one of the oldest cathedrals in Russia. I quickly ask if he goes there, to make sure that if he does, that means he is religious, which will lessen the chances of him being a killer. Yes, he has been there a few times. He names a more reasonable sounding price. Ok, we go.

As he starts to drive he announces, a bit more loud than is usual, that due to a recent happiness in the family (he just became a grandfather) he is sober. Is he being sarcastic? I congratulate him but immediately get suspicious. Why does he have to share his levels of sobriety so publicly, would a totally sober person do that?? And would you not get drunk to celebrate such an occasion anyway??? But then why reveal it to your customers whose lives are in your hands???! This taxi driver is also unusually talkative, but I make sure not to discourage him, since slaughter thoughts have a higher chance of breeding in silence. He tells me about all his children, and about his new grandchildren, and about his eco-farm with home fed chickens in Belorussia where he is from. We pass kilometers of dark high fence – Putin’s famous residence – then Medvedev’s. He asks me how people view Putin in the West.

Finally we reach our neighbourhood but the guard is asleep and won’t open the front gate. We decide to let the Belorussian driver go, since it is almost 3:00am and he should get back to his family. We find ourselves, late in the night, standing in front of our gates, but on the other side. I look behind into the darkness and utter fear seizes. We are completely alone and unprotected and it is 3:00am and dark and the gate is closed. I scan the birch trees in the distance, expecting that maniac with that axe to jump out any minute now. The forest is not that far, so even if we run, there is nowhere safe to run.

Such psychopaths have no other reason for doing such things that simply because it brings them pleasure. I wonder what it must feel like, to catch innocent victims and treat them like prey, to keep them alive and let them suffer knowing that they have no way out. I imagine what it would feel like, to be trapped in the presence of such a person, with a weapon, staring you straight in the eye, and you know what they’re about to do, and there is no way out

 

*The year the Soviet Union collapsed.