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?

Freitag, 14. März 2014

fiercely filtered.

when you change your life, you feel younger. 
now, do you?

they were taking my picture for my University of Cambridge card and when i looked at it, the only thing i thought was:
- jesus, i look like a freshman!

and i really did. cute, but scared. unconfident, but naively open and expectant. what is there to expect?
loss of old habits? sure. quitting smoking since two weeks now (though i dare say that John Green's "looking for alaska" gives not much help there).
gain of new challenges? well, i'm loaded. bring it on. disappointed face. memories of school mocking and phd disasters coming right up.
youth associates with them like milk with coffee. or gin and tonic, for that matter.

so what about, let's say, feeling younger but armed? getting rid of old youth fears? cause, you know, you got wiser and stuff. you have failure experience. you start to recognise The Pattern - after sun come the clouds, after happiness comes depression. and after tears comes a smile. always. aren't these the goodies in your bag that gets heavier every year of your life?

well, turns out that changes really do make you younger. without the goodies. i feel a long-forgotten euphoria of a fresh start, a thrill of a new place and unknown streets and names and faces, that will colour my future brilliant. or disastrous. roller coaster without a life safety net, every day.
except that i am now in possession of A Filter. i'll explain.
see, i am not smoking but i take three double espressos every morning. 
i am nice and friendly in my new lab and my cheeks hurt form smiling but i ignore the signs of missing empathy if i am not asked along. 
i come to social events but i do not panic if i am having lunch by myself.
i work when i can but i do not feel guilty if i can't keep up to the schedule and have to go pick up my kid.
i smile when i managed but i still cry like a two-year old when i did not.
i filter.
our fears do not really go anywhere. they are still there, good old friends - there is the one about being an albino among the normal black crows, there is the one of saying no, there is the fear of losing it, of not being smart enough, tough enough, funny enough, cute enough. i could go on. it is just that our age evolves new habits to cope, be it the caffeine or triple chocolate brownie, it is all the same. we quit the smoking but keep the alcohol. we stay partly scared. 

we feel above the threshold of our evolved humiliation, through the sieve that is our age. it passes on some habits and some fears but leaves behind the debris we are done with, and it gets thicker every day until we are no more scared - or we are no more.

so, bring it on, i say. new life. same old, but this time - above the threshold of my fearless self.