Friday, December 23, 2011

Growing Up, Take 26:

Here I sit on a train, going to Maastricht. This should be my last visit to the city for some time. I have never particularly enjoyed going to Maastricht. The people, while polite, are not 'out-of-their-way' nice. You really have to be in the community, to be accepted by it. Never the less, it is a beautiful city that I have previously professed my intrigue for many times over–the architecture heavy; the river freely flowing; multiple countries just over every hilltop.

One thing it does not feel like, currently, is Christmas. Where is the snow? Where is the cold? Where is the ice? Where is Santa? Well, to be honest, I did see Santa the other day when I walked into the Bijenkorf. He was telling everyone 'Merry Christmas', in English. Just yesterday, while cycling past the Tropenmuseum, I saw that Coca-Cola has, more or less, bought up every sidewalk-side advertising billboard along the Linnaeusstraat. Complete with a picture of Coke Santa, and the words 'Merry Christmas' proudly proclaimed in a 'rustic-classic' san-serif font, on every one of them. The Anglicization of Amsterdam is almost complete!

And speaking of English–my Dutch has taken the back seat for some time now. I have been so focused on my professional self, and listening to what my heart wants to be, see, feel, and create. My life thus far has been incredibly rewarding, and every time I do sit down to write something long winded, I always think back to a post that I wrote while sitting in a launderette, in Düsseldorf, washing and drying and folding clothes. But that was always because I never had a washer/dryer in all these tiny Euro apartments I had previously rented, so all my typing was done, while doing laundry. Yikes! It's fun to look back and see how I've arrived at where I am now. I moved to Amsterdam quite swiftly, right after graduating from university. My real-world education is beyond most, for someone of my age; at least that's what I tell myself.

And there's another worth: self. The self is the inner you; your soul. The essence is what connects us all. And to lose your self, in the essence, is a beautiful thing. Launching off from 2011's key-word of fluidity, the word essence seems to have a much better possibility of being fluid-like, in my mind, than self. So I've been trying to live in the essence; be in the moment; and not be in my head. It's working well, and I notice that I enjoy casual conversations more these days, with more depth. Chit-chat is tedious to me; it makes me feel like silicone–that is, lacking firmness in the moment. I've also, this year, researched and explored new passions, new paths, and new ways of combining words with media to story tell; that has been the ultimate goal of my self for the past two years: to learn the art of combining images with words. It's worked_and I've done it with some of the world's best. It still surprises and excites me to this day, that some of the world's best creative minds, I've pulled into my sphere of life–to create alongside. It's so exciting. I want to always learn, from the best, and I'm not afraid to make that a reality.

Christmas is coming up soon and I still have to put up our tree; kidding of course! It's been up since the middle of November. (What else would you expect? 'November–how so?', you ask. It's a fake one of course! How else would every branch (and the overall silhouette) be perfect?). I'm going to The Hague tomorrow for a 'Christmas' lunch with the family, and then Christmas day is reserved for some serious present opening, coffee-of course, and lots of deliciously lekker food, drink, and Christmas cheer. Then Tuesday I'm off to Gdansk, Poland. Renting an apartment in a chic part of town, and having five days to explore a tiny harbor city, during the always interesting 'between Christmas and New Years' period, which should prove exciting. If only for the fact that there is not much of a set agenda involved, except eating, drinking and exploring the castles and woods around Gdansk–and of course, it's cute city center.

Then, my friend Amy arrives on New Years day; this Amy. The one that inspires me to be myself, never focus on the past, and make the most of, myself, within life and the tangible 3D-material world the surrounds us. I am not sure what our plans will be, but I'm sure it will involve lots of bike rides, coffees, food, and lots of smiles and laughs and long winded conversations.

As 2011 dwindles to an end, I feel as if I've become more true to myself; my ambitions; my desires; my wants; my needs. My life is becoming more focused in terms of where I want to be in the world. I want to surround myself with, as Oprah so eloquently stated: 'Only those who will lift you higher.' And I'm doing just that. And I'm doing it in Amsterdam. It's exciting; it's intoxicating; and it started at a young age. 19 and running through the streets of Gay Pride in San Francisco; 21 and running around Chelsea and downtown Manhattan's nighttime-scene; 22 and in Copenhagen and Germany and Amsterdam... learning about architecture and design while sponging up as much European culture and history as I could, and can; alongside street-smarts, physical activity and endurance (running!), and a renewed and reinvigorated sense of body-consciousness, allowing for the exterior to match the interior.

'Style is just the outside of content, and content the inside of style. Like the outside and inside of the human both, they both go together–they can't be separated.'

I recently watched this wonderful video interview of Diane von Fürstenberg, in which she states that she didn't know what she wanted to do or how she was going to get there when she started her professional career, but that she knew who she wanted to be. That's powerful. And more importantly, incredibly pragmatic and inspirational. I am on my way to who I want to be (getting back to the self). And along the way, I'm going to surround myself with creative and inspirational people who will 'lift me higher', while providing the necessary environment and resources, allowing me to lose myself in the moment at all times, to be true to my desires and aspirations.

I am not a romantic, but a realist. I am pragmatic beyond belief, intensely loyal and devoted to anything and anyone I put my passion–and more importantly, love–behind. This past Sunday, my stunning boyfriend and I went to a 'body-pump' class at the (brand new and huge!) gym we just joined. Having been a swimmer and a runner during my youth, I know how to exert full control of my mind over my body. And these past few years I've really explored and begun to understand my body; accept it; embrace it. Besides, it's probably one of, if not the only, thing that I'll have with me, my whole life. I'm learning to love it; it can move in all kinds of fun and fluid ways. And if the right song is playing, my living room can turn into a dance floor–a party of one, shall we say. Sometimes the other joins, and then it's a party of two–caught up in the essence. I like that.