Finding Myself in a New City

written on June 1, 2019 | Berlin, Germany

I’m writing this as I take the tram home at 20:20, hoping I manage to get a few more things at the supermarket because everything is closed tomorrow (Sunday).

Of all places I had imagined to be, I never thought of Berlin. Ever. So obviously, a lot of impulsive decisions were made that led me here.

It’s just been two weeks or so since I arrived, and today is the first of June. For the first time in my life, I realized the importance of living life day by day and making each moment count. At least, that’s probably what this city (and my medication) has been doing to my system.

My summer in Manila was a blur. Apart from traveling extensively (Spain, then South Africa), I also relaunched the shop, filmed a lot of videos in advance, worked on pending deadlines, and finally finished fixing my website (which explains now why my blog is up again). The thing is, I’ve been in this cycle for four years now—and I think I’m about to reach a point where I really need to take a big turn and do something else…unless I end up quitting early, and I don’t want that to happen.

I had a couple of mental breakdowns since I got here. And no, it’s not because I hate it here—I LOVE it here that I can’t believe I’m in this moment, right now, surrounded by amazing people (in my program, more on that later), being in an environment that nurtures every part of me (waking up to the sound of chirping birds is quite nice, don’t you think?), and learning the beauty that is being free. Free from control, structure, and limits.

A week before I flew to Berlin, I went to a new psychiatrist (it’s my third). Finally I decided to undergo medication for my anxiety, and the first week was hell. I was taking so much tablets in a day (I have other hormonal problems) that I wanted to just give up. I no longer was the productive person I was and found no reason to live. I had no feelings for days, and would suddenly burst in tears a day after. My whole system was basically fucked up, leading to the day before my flight. Not only that, but I had to sort a last minute visa issue and rebook everything all in 24 hours…so I was a wreck when I arrived at Tegel last May 15th.

Happy to report that I am no longer a wreck, I can now cook proper food (gluten free and dairy free!), and have managed to reset my body clock to this timezone. Oh, and I found out I can still tolerate alcohol despite my medication, so that is *amazing* news.

In more amazing news, the residency program I am in has been changing the way I make art—in a good way. It’s just been two weeks but I’ve been learning so much from the people I am with, and I’ve been experimenting with my work constantly. It’s the first time I get to work in a space that isn’t my room, so I found out that it does make a huge difference. I’m learning the importance of separating myself and art but at the same time, maintaining a healthy relationship with it. It’s funny though, because I feel like still living a double life—I work at the studio from 10-5, head home, and work on my Manila responsibilities. Such is life right now, and so far I’m loving it that way.

The biggest struggle so far has been putting myself *in this moment* and really taking it all in. I only have two months here, and I’m not going to let it pass just like that. My energy now is not focused on worrying, but on being hopeful that everything I do will lead to something eventually. So far, process-wise, I find that I’ve been retracing my roots to the style I’m accustomed to when I was 14…but in a mature way, lol. I guess it’s true that some things never change.

If anything, I’m now thinking that maybe this blurry future is going to make me a better person. The only thing I worry about now is what I’ll be having for dinner. 

Will I find myself here? I don’t know. And it’s okay for now. Someday I’ll get my answers.

Ok, here’s my stop. Until then…Tschüß! 

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