Donnerstag, 2. Juni 2016

of princesses and dragons.

purple flowers surrounded the Princess' face, nodding in agreement when the wind touched upon their petals. she picked them up somewhere in the foreign fields. 
while they passed over unfamiliar kingdoms and empty lands, the Princess grew sadder and the Dragon grew tired. they were flying through the forest, and branches swooshed on his toughened skin, throwing warm and humid air into the Princess' face. 
it was time to rest.
without knowing how much time has passed, the Princess followed the Dragon everywhere... she did not remember anymore how it started and why he took her on his back. she did not know how they started flying. bit by bit, she was forgetting who she was, her home and her family. yet, the Dragon did not remind her...

day after day, month after month she spent on his back, passing through foreign worlds, taking everything in. but from all these impressions, people and creatures she met on the way, experiences she made, nothing remained in her soul, or so she thought. something was changing. slowly, unnoticeably... the emptiness she left her home with, was gradually replaced by bitterness and cold. her supple skin became thicker and words could not get through it so easily anymore. her hair grew long and tangled. her eyes grew wild. and something else - their colour was changing. no longer they were amber-brown anymore, but gained a dark but shiny shade. the shade of gold.

and we all know what it means... well, she did not, not yet.

when they rested in the middle of the thick forest, the Princess could not sleep. she stood up and walked towards the opening in the trees. she looked up into the stars. and then something happened - her spine suddenly grew stronger, so that she no longer felt her legs. her arms grew wider and wider reaching up into the night air, her head grew dizzy and the forest was spinning around her body as she was standing in the middle of this tornado... in front of her, the Dragon appeared. as usual, he did not speak, but his golden eyes were fixed on her face. staring into this golden sea, she saw her whole life once again, until the moment the Dragon's heart was born and started beating through her tears. she saw them flying through thick smoke above the empty lands and unknown kingdoms. and then she felt an urge, so strong and violent, she could not bear it any longer! the urge to fly!

- i want to fly! - she cried. 
- there is more to flying than freedom... - the Dragon's words were heavy and sad.
- show me!
his eyes stared more fiercely. the golden smoke lifted. and she saw hundreds, thousands of them under the sun, with glistening strong lithe bodies, their eyes glowing with wisdom and serenity - the Dragons. but something startled the Princess... yes. none of them was flying.
- why?!
- look closer.
in the middle of them was the most beautiful creature of all - her Dragon. he gleamed with happiness and sang his songs and told his thoughts that came right from his soul. he dived deep and opened up his heart. and that's when it happened. 
the others did not care about this depth. their words were serene because they were indifferent. their eyes were glowing because they were sleepy. their hearts were stones and there was nothing to open up. 
shattered and desperate, disappointed and lonely, the Dragon creeped from them... long-long time he fled, until he found an empty space. there he spent five hundred years of solitude. until the Princess found him. and both his grave sadness and her fiery tears have lifted his heart. so he could fly...
- you know that I am not supposed to believe you, - said the Princess.
- and I am not supposed to feel sorry for you, - he answered.
that was how, in the middle of the forest, when the anger from the Princess' past thrusted through her heart and filled her entire body with gravity, her Dragon's sharp claws drilled through her skin and reached deeper than she knew herself. 
that was why her stone-heavy heart was now lying in his paw... and the Dragon remembered himself, oh how she reminded him of his younger days! 
that was when his golden tears ran streaming into her heart, burning it to smoke.
and that was where she finally lost the last feeling of her body and the earth beneath her, dashing into the violet skies, forgetting the present and embracing the future.

the Princess flew towards her home, carrying a golden heart inside, while she finally understood what she has become.

a Dragon.

Freitag, 6. November 2015

the tale of the real dragon heart.


So the Princess screwed up. She knew it.

There was nothing more she could do - she already did and revealed too much. So she ran through the forest, leaves swooshing behind her feet. She ran through the fields, wet grass stroking her knees. She ran furiously and accelerating, escaping her thoughts.

Finally, she arrived at the end of the kingdom, where the cold stream marked the border to the foreign land. She stood at the river bed and looked into the dark water. It was cold November and little snow flakes were falling from the sky, soft and shy, melting like silent tears on the cheeks when they met the earth. The misty air was full of these tears and they filtered through the skin and reached the Princess' silent heart. But she was not able to cry.

The Princess was probably no longer even a Princess anymore. Her sorrows and irritations drained her mood over the past few months, they drew on her temper and forced her to build up a hard shell around herself, so that nobody could touch and break the soul that was inside. Day by day she was facing anger, hatred and ignorance, feeling it with every fibre and every muscle when she moved. Feeling it with the bones of her spine when she turned away. And worse of it all - she did not understand what she has done wrong... 

It all started almost out of blue. She lost a friend and with that, she lost many others. Those who, for a long time, have been her place to go to, turned away. Others did not arrive. And apart from being alone, she was falling into complete emptiness - fast and unavoidable.Her always shiny smile turned into a bitter grin. Her sparkling eyes lost their glow. Her hands were cold. She tried to keep her mood together. But when the stones that hit her did not seize but became heavier and heavier - she lost it. She snapped and she cried. She found no halt anywhere she ran. She was a person she no longer recognised - grim and bitter, desperate for any kind of affirmation. She was afraid of going home because even her beloved Prince and the little son were not safe from her temper. 

How could she ever serve an example for her little child? What would he see in her that he would want to become and follow? That is why the fields and the leaves were greeting her.

She was not allowed on the other side of the stream - for there were foreign grounds and no longer she knew what lay outside of the kingdom. But the stones in her soul weighed her down so much that she knelt towards the water, fell down and let the stream carry her. 
She reached the other side and her feet touched the foreign soil. She started walking.The trees thinned, the ground plateaued and the Princess found herself in the middle of nowhere. The snow fell heavier and soon everything went white - the field, the grass and herself. It was day but the light was weary and ghostly. Only two little sparks were shining far away and she set on towards them. Once they grew bigger, she recognised a shape around. 
It was a big creature lying in the middle of snowy landscape, massive in itself, wings spread wide, legs crossed underneath, head on the paws, sparkling gold eyes wide open, looking inside her soul. 
It was a Dragon.
She stood in front of him, not afraid, only empty. 
After a long silence, she said:
- You must know, dragons do not exist.
- I am aware of that fact, yes, - said the Dragon.
- I came here because I knew nowhere else to go.
- I know that, too.

Then he rose one paw and she saw the sharp claws spreading. But she was still not afraid. She stood still and looked him in the eye. 
She saw there, in the deep golden sea the baby Princess being born, her parents happy around the small girl, she saw her lying on her back in the summer flowers, looking to the sky. She saw her growing up and chasing the unknown, leaving her home, finding friends and enemies, learning other languages and perfecting her skills. She saw her meeting the Prince, living their live together. She saw her son being born and his sky-blue eyes looking at her the first time. She saw her happiness and her fears, she heard the funny jokes and the sad songs of her life. 
And that is when she felt her face wet under all the tears that drained silently from her eyes full of memories. So the Dragon's claws turned away from her and reached into his chest. The Princess gasped as she saw the sharp claws drilling through the Dragon's bony scales, inside the centuries-thick skin, golden blood streaming out between his joints. And then he drew something in his paw and opened it in front of her face. It was his golden heart, heavy and dead as a stone, but glowing with fierce heat like a stove.
And the Princess' tears fell onto the Dragon's naked heart like water meeting fire, and steam rose into the snowy air as the stone began to soften. It lit from within and started beating, the smoke got thicker and swirled around the golden heart. It surrounded both the Princess and the Dragon and nothing else could be seen in the snowy fields.

But this is not the end of the fairytale. 
Because as the smoke cleared, two shapes could be seen in the twilight. It was the Princess riding on the Dragon. She was flying free as she left behind the warmly lit window of her cosy home. 
She will miss it. 
And she will come back. 
But for now, she was flying towards the unknown empty space that was scaring her before and that now felt so inviting, however unknown it might be. This world carried new happiness, new songs to sing and a new friend to arrive - and the Princess was safe on her Dragon. His golden heart was now beating alive in his chest, carrying both the wisdom of the old and the tears of the young, just how it should be for a Dragon heart to come alive. 

And as the Princess was moving forward, she knew that her little son was watching out of their warmly lit house window, looking into the sky, where two shapes were flying towards the horizon. 

And she knew that on his own time, with his own dragon - he will follow.

Sonntag, 26. Juli 2015

the science of being naked

blue soapy water swirls around my naked ankles and i get goosebumps all the way up my legs. 
we all have these days. days of hot baths, of many glasses of wine, of chocolate ice-cream, of cigarettes. or all of these together.
and then we usually get asked: 'well, what happened?' 
everyone knows that bad things hurt. well actually, good things hurt just the same. 

so many good and encouraging things happened to me in the last few weeks... but here i am, in my bath. 
wtf? i ask myself.

my son recently asked me: 
- mama, what is a wonder? 
and i thought and i answered: 
- a wonder is something very big and great that we would never expect. 
it is all very wonder-full what happens to me. and exactly because of that, it settles on my skin like a weight of lead. and my shell cracks.
but you know how it is with seafood? it's delicious inside!
so it's time to shed my shell.

in my life, i had many of them. there is something about the scientist's life - it is our constant travelling. we move between places, we move between friends and we move ourselves. it is our cross to bear - the boredom we all feel when we stay at one place too long... 
we are nomads of the mind. first we get to new places, then we get to be another person. we all pretend at first. and when we pretend long enough, we change for real - the new shell is born. we shed the past. it is so addictive, and we get used to it so much that we can never keep still anymore. 
i, as well, changed many of them, many skins and carcasses. and i still kind of love them - not because they have always protected my naked self, but because they let me grow inside in peace.
but you know what? i had so many, i fear i don't even know what's inside anymore.
and now, with skies and rainbows and new things crushing above, i realise there is time to get rid of everything.

you know how it is with leather? it gets rained and snowed on until it gets tough. but by that it also gets softer.
when you reveal yourself to someone, you might get anything. rain or sunshine, smile or shitstorm. you never know. but that's how you get the tan!
and i've always tanned pretty fast..

so, i lie here in my bath and i see my naked skin and i feel my naked heart. 
i know i will protect it with all my teeth and i know it will hurt. i am not bulletproof and i have a lot to lose. 
sure, if you don't dare, you don't suffer. but if you don't suffer, you don't change. and if you don't change - you don't live. 
it really is that simple.

i love my safe and beautiful shell. 
but right now, i would like nothing more than to get naked.

There is a cracking in my shell
with naked flesh inside.
I put my ego on the shelf,
I tossed my thoughts aside.

I tried so hard to love myself,
but it just doesn’t work.
I put my ego on the shelf,
I throw it into dirt.

For many years I’m fighting them -
my demons with their horns.
My thoughts are constant traffic jam,
but no concern of yours.

And in the middle of this mess,
when wine is not enough -
I see my unfamiliar face,
I see it from above.

I feel your words, sharp like a knife,
they cut and my heart drains.
I kiss my ego back to life,
I feel it in my veins.

I rub my eyes, I stretch my bones,
I look inside - and then
I see my demons with their horns.
And I am one of them.

Donnerstag, 29. Januar 2015

the meaning of meanness

'keep it mean - keep them keen'. someone just recently said to me.
and although i hate to admit it, i actually think he is right.

why is it that we always want this one person to like us, that never will? why is it that we always want to be best at the thing that was never ours? i am a girl and i am not a bad looking one - and yet, i also remember these couple of times desperately wanting a guy that just wouldn't look my way. 
i could have everyone else. 
i could have the only one! (which i fortunately ended up with), and yet, here i was - wanting it. i would change everything - my look, my hair, my character, my behaviour, my habits, just to have him. try to be better, try to be good enough, being sure that i will finally get it. the thing i can never have. that is not made for me. why?

i feel that this is a part of my personality (or maybe, even just a girl's personality), to yearn for unreachable stuff. i don't mean a bag, or a shoe (alright, it might have been a shoe :)
being a scientist, at least for now, i am asking myself if academic science is exactly like this - does it keep us interested only because it is being a bitch? 
and so we try and try and try. all over again. we do not give up. we never quit. we never look the other way - only because there is a glimpse of a hope that journals, grants and fellowships once upon a time will finally look our way.
and walking upon these sticks and stones, we keep hearing this: you are a scientist, that means you are a fighter! i know you can do it! i know you are strong enough!
oh, how I hate these sentences. how much do i want to just be. not 'strong' or 'a fighter'. not even a weak little girl. how about the right to just be myself? sometimes strong, sometimes weak - sometimes refusing to give up, and sometimes not even being able to stand up from the ground.

i have also recently discovered a courage to give it up. it takes a lot more that to continue doing the thing you are used to do. it takes a lot more to stay the way you truly are. without trying to lose weight and to keep your long hair, just because the guy you want might like it this way. who the hell cares? he doesn't. 
and science doesn't, too. for sure.
i have met a person who just quit academia. and i have met many afterwards who also did. they did not die of shame and no one called them losers. quite the opposite, most of the people are jealous of their 'life after'. they will just never admit it, because they secretly hope to get their share faster because the air is getting thinner, the higher you go.
after all - you would be really glad if a girl this guy fancies, finally went away or got married, right? so now, it's only you and him, and you got a chance. 
so you think. 
but actually, you know what is the only thing that happens? he will find another girl he fancies. and it will not be you. again. 
this is not about how you look and not about how you can look. this is about what you are and what he is. different lives, different paths, different interests, different sexual preferences, different face and different chemistry. 
and so, shattered, you finally understand - you will not win this one. even if you always won before. no matter, how well you fight (and believe me, i know how to fight).
it's just that, sometimes, he is not that into you. 
and it's just that, sometimes, the thing that you have been doing your entire life, might not be yours to do. as simple as that.
after all, if you are having a hard time doing something, maybe, only maybe - you are just not good at it! as simple as that. and no shame in it at all. it only means that your abilities are better and best elsewhere. 
there are so many ways to fight. there are so many ways to do science. and i am not forgetting the overall unfairness of nowadays science that plays a fair share in demotivation of young scientists, but this is not a motivation speech!.. i am asking you and myself - don't you want to find out what you are really amazing at? go on and take the big leap! jump. run. play. look left instead of right.
our endless scientific education is fantastic for teaching us to cope with frustrations. it is tremendously helpful in showing us how to stay focused and ‘think with your gut’ (alias scientific intuition). 
but it does this one thing to us: after all these years staying concentrated on the sun, we forget the sky around it. not to mention the clouds. 
see, it so happens that when you drop something and move your gaze from the tunnel in front of you - you can finally look down and see the right path that has been underneath you all the time. 
you might continue into the tunnel, if this is the right thing for you. fair enough. but you will also have the choice to stop and turn around. maybe it will be the right path, maybe not - who knows? stay or not stay, this is for everyone alone to decide.
but this is the thing. when you finally give up on this guy and leave the party, he suddenly looks your way. and offers you a cup of coffee. for free.
because, you see, 'keep it mean - keep them keen' works both ways. 
the power is all yours.

Mittwoch, 2. Juli 2014

inside the insight

nothing is sexier than storytelling. 

his hands tremble a bit when he enters the hallway to pick me up. it is eleven in the evening, too late for any bus or train, which means he walked all the way through half of a city to be here now. 
which means he started walking after he waited six to seven seconds after he hung up the phone after i called him that i am in town today. a single flower - white carnation with some quite confusing glitter sprinkled on it. they sell them in those little cigarette kiosks along the road. he had no time to loose.
his eyes go down on me - and back to my eyes again. there they'll stay. we always go for a walk, that's all we do. we talk without saying things. and when there is no other way to bear it, our hands slightly touch. electricity rushes from fingers to the heart. electricity is not good for the pulse. so it stops for a while. and raves off again when his fingers wrap around my hand - heartbeat raised only by a million of times. 
it is almost corny and it almost hurts. but it hurts more than it is corny...
i float on the waves and listen to his stories. he narrates all the books he read in my absence, and i see his hands on the pages that smell of old paper, of typographic ink, of heavy leather covers. his words drop into my skin and produce little spots of sweat that run down my neckline. it's just little words - but they are phantasies in our heads and we begin to share a world. 
this world we created, existed for five years. 
then he died.
i still live in it. since nine years this month.

it all happens in your head - that's what they say. the whole life around you might just be a phantasy inside your mind, a picture imprinted by the circumstances coming your way, a reflection of people you meet. quite an old thought, really... does it mean that there is indeed something true to it? 
do you know how sometimes you are only left with the phantasy instead of the real person, and then - how difficult is it to get away and find your way back?
"fear not to dream", the american way of life. the thoughts you have, will keep you pushing forward...
well, you know, they also do tend to give you headaches. 
let it go, and you will fly - that's what they say. after all, this is the purpose of meditation. saves your life.
i am sitting at the lake of the fine city of Madison. fireflies on the grass, fireworks in the sky. and there is that seagull, flying free in the american jeans blue, white wings in the wind. well, i reckon, the seagull can fly because it has no thoughts. do i want to be happy and a seagull?

meditate and let go off the thoughts... just let them pass, notice but not linger. did you try? it is near to impossible.
and yet sometimes, it is so much easier to let it go! not think of it. chicken out, bury your head into that nice fluffy warm sand. so here you go, no?
well, turns out that if you have that perfect phantasy, that truly beautiful story in your head - do you let it go? or do you dare to give in to it and hope that, like a wave, it will pass? sounds tough. and i always liked challenges.

an easy life? sure. it is all about keeping covers. oh don't get me wrong, i love appearances! nice things. long legs. bedroom eyes. what's inside? who does care? 

turns out, nerds do. i am a scientist not because i love it. but because i really hate not knowing what's inside. so i ask questions - and they say, there are no stupid ones.
well, maybe only uncomfortable

but complications make a good story. 
and this is truly sexy.

Dienstag, 15. April 2014


it flashes bright brown gold when it shimmers towards the sun, then it turns around and shows its earthy dark side - once it falls into the fountain, it will reflect the air and the waves and current around it and become indigo blue, then steely grey. it reflects the flower petals falling from the blushing apple trees at the road as they are seized by the wind and fly above the church towers and the colleges.
i flip the next 10 pence coin in my hand and throw it into the water.

and just as it is, i look up and see the same reflections and flashes in the eyes dashing in a hurry towards me, then past, then they are gone - bright brown, shimmering grey, dark blue, steely green… 
eyes of busy people running to work, some of them being dreamy or thoughtful, some of them already angry, some of them enjoying themselves and checking their reflection in the shop windows. 
this is my way to the university, i have music in my ears - but my eyes wander around, just as the ones are that come across my path. some linger on my face for a while, others dash away.
i wonder which side of a coin they see in my eyes. 
les passants. 
passers-by. this word is hardly used in the English language - it is highly used in French, though. is it because of the parisian cafes that have become a cliché many decades ago? places to sit and look into other peoples' eyes, into the street, into nothing, into yourself. you can hardly find such places here. 
but you can find such people. 
people who look straight into my eyes and see my soul without even realising. people with blue eyes. or brown. or grey.

i wonder which side of my personality i ever show in my eyes. this is the beauty of coming to someplace new - you get to be someone else all over again. you can re-invent your life by leaving out some details and emphasising the others. you can determine your wishes anew. you can even change your way of talking. 
it is as if you have a first date or make a new friend. you try to be someone you always wanted to be, and the other person does the same. eventually, you get closer and you realise some things that were hidden, but that actually account for the individual personality and make out the nuances and shades of a character. little flaws, hated by yourself, but liked (or at least unperceived) by the other person. however, you are already friends, so no point in hiding. you are being taken in as you are. 
in a fortunate case.

but being someplace new really does open up your mind - also to yourself. 
and as i see my coin flipping, i wonder which side of me it is going to be. maybe, instead of inventing someone new, someone better, someone i thought i wanted to be - now i just GET TO BE ME. 
it is impressive and gets more difficult the older we get, to be someone and somewhere you actually want to be. sometimes you just have to dare to do it.

i look into the blue eyes. the brown. and the grey. and as i drown my reflection in the fountain my eyes shimmer. 
they shimmer with a new light.

Mittwoch, 2. April 2014

passion progressive.

so you are there, alone with your phantasy. you finally made it - be it your wistful place, your dream result, a person you've been obsessed with. you are there. this is where the fairy tales usually end - the happily ever after.
well, i've always been interested what happens to the Phantasy after.

don't you remember and absolutely LOVE this butterfly feeling of falling in love? the brief intensive looks, the giggly stomach, the electricity of every so brief touch… isn't that just the Unknown that calls and excites us? every relationship begins this way, every friendship, every secret love. only very rarely it persists. usually it disappears, leaving only a faint scent of the exquisite memory of the butterflies. and because of that memory relationships still last, because of this secret affairs begin - in a hope and a longing to bring back the thrill after every certain stolen look…
whether it was true or not, real feeling or just a phantasy.
but i sometimes ask myself, what is more real?

i remember those days and a little girl, the only child, a reading individualist, strolling through the empty streets of a sleepy summer village and imagining things. this girl had a whole world happening in her head, there lived no princes but dragons, there were strawberry castles with balconies made of candied honey, there were robber's daughters and wizards and doors to other strange worlds that opened right there at the end of those sleepy summer streets. 
and i was living there, i spent my childhood in these worlds - every strange voice and sound meant they were real. 
every weird strangers i met there gave me meaningful looks that i still remember. all dialogues are still in my memory. unlike some of those i had with real people. so where is the border to the Phantasy?

it is a dreamer's happiness and his curse. and yes, call me a nerd but i can live in my phantasy and that is why it is real for me. 
i once knew a person who told me something i first hated because he turned out to be an asshole. he said science is a great playground for him. and i realised it is true in some way. they always say we scientists need to stay childish in order to be able to ask Questions. all kinds of questions!
but it's not only that. we need to be able to play, to have an idea, a passion and a phantasy we can escape into - and then it can become real. it might not, and it is mostly a failure. but sometimes… sometimes you sit at the microscope and see it right there, staring you in your face - your idea. 
it is real. 
and your stomach giggles. 
just as it does when this person looks at you in a certain way. 
your faces get nearer. 
you kiss.
end of story. butterflies go away. but the memory stays. so the trouble of staying in science is to remember those moments that get you drunk and high with being right and having seen it with your own eyes. those moments are rare, they might be only a couple in a lifetime. 

but, after all, how many real good kisses do you remember?