When I left Berlin at the very end of September, it was because things had simply reached a stalemate. I'd done all that I could at the time and yet, things had seemingly not progressed to the degree that I required them to. I needed a break, a chance to get out and clear away the smog that was restricting my brainwaves.
The few weeks I had back in England, staying with my beautiful best Charlotte, was lovely and it was great to be able to catch up with both her and some of my oldest friends too. I have to admit, I've always been something of a lone wolf; I like my solitude, but equally, when I make friends, I like to forge a deep bonding, one that stands the test of time and doesn't require constant management. I hadn't seen anyone back home for over nine months and some of my friends and I had maybe only spoken once a month or so, but seeing each other again, it was as though no time had passed. I think that's the true test of a good and solid friendship and I think that those relationships are greatly important. However independent and solitary you may be, there will always come a time when you need that support in your life and it's good to know that it's there.
After two weeks passed, I knew I wasn't ready to head back to Berlin yet and so, I flew out to France to stay with another of my closest friends, Kate and her husband Cheese, where I spent half the time nestled in their spare bedroom, painstakingly trying to finish writing my book and the other half living in my yogi pants, tucked up in front of the fire, with a precious copy of British Vogue to read and a plate full of homemade Chelsea buns to nibble on. It was certainly a much needed time out and I could not be more appreciative of their hospitality. These are not just my friends, they're truly my family and I honestly could not want for better.
I said to myself that I wouldn't return to Berlin until I was in a position to lay down permanent roots, because, whilst I have been incredibly fortunate over the past six months since I moved here, it has undeniably been a struggle at times. I have essentially slept on every floor, sofa and spare bed in, quite possibly, every neighbourhood in town and quite honestly, people have been more than generous towards me, for which I am truly grateful, but, that was the summer and in truth, that kind of vagrancy can only continue for so long. It's time for change. I need to make a secure home for myself and I need to do it on my own and in my own way.
I followed my heart and came back on a leap of faith, however, things did not fall spectacularly into place, as I hoped. In the short week since I arrived back in the city, there have been nights whereby I have cried myself to sleep, questioning everything, including my sanity. I have asked myself where on this great Earth I truly belong and as to whether or not I was crazy to come back when I did. My mind has spiraled out of control on a fair few occasions and I've fallen back innumerable times, leaning too heavily on people for support, people who by now are starting to push back and force me to take responsibility for myself. It's hard, but it is right, because I do need to stand on my own two feet and learn to take care of myself, mentally, emotionally and physically.
If the past sixteen months of traveling has taught me anything, it's that I am more than capable of looking after myself and whilst this is the first time I've been in Berlin without anywhere to stay and indeed, anyone to rely on, perhaps in truth, that's what I need. If anything, it's a great test of my endurance and a good indicator of how much I want to stay; how willing am I to persevere in order to make this happen? Sometimes you need things to be stripped back - take away the friendships, the lovers, even the warmth and the sunshine, see a place for the bare bones that it is and really ask yourself: is this enough? Can I find happiness here, alone? After a ridiculously sweaty Bikram session with Katie yesterday, down in Mitte, I looked out of the window to the street below and despite everything, every great unknown, every unstable uncertainty that I currently face, I knew in my heart of hearts, that this, this rugged, grey city, is where I belong, it is what makes me happy. Whether that's on my own or not.
I think there are lessons in every hardship, so for now, I release any worry, I stop with the tears, I desist from relying on others and I work things out on my own, in my own way. If things are meant to be, I truly trust that they will be and ultimately, I have complete faith in the universe. I mean hey, it got me here, right!
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