Category: Life

Why is time passing by so fast and how can I deal with it better?

Why is time passing by so fast and how can I deal with it better?

I cannot feel, see, hear, or smell it, and yet I know I am somehow wrapped in it. It is a precious gift, which gives me so many opportunities. Yet, it is scary because the older I get, the more it seems to accelerate. I know, I only have a limited amount of it. However, I spent a lot of it procrastinating and waiting. Why?

Last month I turned 30, and as scary as that number sounded to me at first, I feel at ease with it now. Nothing really changed, besides the fact I am no longer a twenty-something. The first decade as an adult is over, and I could not feel freer somehow, if that is a thing. I was scared of so many things. Doing some things for the first time, well, needed lots of motivation and ambition to push myself forward. These days, I know what I am capable of doing. I focus more on what I can. Positive thinking was one of the things I seriously had to learn. Even if I cannot predict all possible outcomes, I know now everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Why do I put the stakes so high and expect of me being perfect?

View from World Trade Center
Picture I took inside the World Trade Center in New York City.
 There were many things I did not do, because I was scared of failing and because I thought I still have so much time left, so I can take the next opportunity. However, how do I know that I will get another chance? How do I know how much time I actually have left? At least, these feelings make me an optimist, and that is good, isn’t it? 

Only not trying is a real failure, because then I will never know the awesome lessons I could have learned. And learning is always good, no matter if it is something positive or negative. Every experience puts more faith in me. It is like testing, figuring out who I am. Can I do that? Let’s try it. I am still young, and I have so many more years ahead, yet I know it will be over one day. There are things I won’t be able doing when I am going to have kids someday, or when I will be in my seventies. So travelling a lot is one thing I enjoy the most these days.

Just recently, I stumbled upon an interesting article about positive thinking being healthy. Expecting good things to happen can help dealing easier with problems, or any kind of diseases. It makes me believe in myself more, fight harder, try more things, which is what makes life special. In my twenties, I was mostly like “I have never done this before, so I cannot do it”. These days I am like “hell yeah, let’s try it”. Maybe because I can evaluate my strengths and weaknesses more in a rational than simply an emotional way, which was often lead by simply insecurity and anxiety of the unknown.

As I learned from one of my co-workers: “There are no problems, only challenges.”

Time is way too precious to waste it on waiting. It is not easy leaving my comfort zone, but it is the only way to bring me further. Focus on how it can work, might be tricky but I know now, there is always a possibility to make something work. How can anything change, without me doing something? I cannot stay in bed, waiting for good things to happen, and I cannot protect myself from all possible dangers. Not moving at all, caused actually hating myself more for missing out so much. I remember six years ago, the first time I wanted to go to New York. I did not go. I was too scared travelling alone and I could not find anyone joining me. Lesson I learned? I missed something that I wanted to do so badly. I did not want to feel like this again. Three years later, I finally did it and it was the most riveting experience I ever had. This year I travelled again. I knew I could do it, which made everything even more intense.

Cup of coffee and magazine on a table
Do what makes you happy.
 Back to the main question: time is not accelerating. The more plans I have, the more things I want to do, the more I fill my time. Doing whatever I love and enjoy makes it pass by in an instant. I do not focus on it, I simply live it. It is like having money, but only save it for something. It’s good to have some extra cash, but it gives me opportunities to spend it on something I love. I can get back some money, but I can never get back any of my time. So I choose wisely what I do with it. 

It is nothing to touch, smell, taste, see or hear. There is no way for us to actually sense it. Somehow, it is all around us. It is happening and there is no way to outrun it. Time is the change between two events. The earth is turning, and I am moving with it. Change is everywhere, every day, constantly. I am getting older. That can be scary, because it is something new. I have never been in my 30s before. And I will never getting back there. I look forward to more great things to happen. Time is there to create memories, which no one can ever take away from me.
I am glad I do not know how much time I have left. This countdown would totally freak me out. I want to make the most of every day, appreciate it, spend it with those I love and do as much I love to do – at least most of the time, I have lots of duties, too. However, even my job is one I chose. So, it is a privilege to have it. It allows me doing other things I love. Knowing that I am the master of my life helps me being more positive. I choose how to spend it.

If I choose to be happy, I will find a way.

Me in downtown Manhattan, in front of World Trade Center
Me in New York City.

What is the sense of stereotypes?

What is the sense of stereotypes?

Playing is a way to see the world, to create an understanding for everything. Kids love switching into different characters, getting dressed up and being someone else for just a moment. They see the world differently. They see it without these “boxes” in which adults often instinctively put people. Children ask questions, and wonder about certain behaviors that grown up’s would never consider. Why? Adults learned that some things are the way they are. Period. This answer would never be enough for a kid. When do adults stop asking? Is it easier to accept a specific way of thinking, than daring to think differently?

Imagine a kid who is wearing a skirt, and playing princess with a doll. What do you think? Is it a little girl or a boy? Why do you think this is obvious? It was not even 200 years ago, when men wore nightgowns. Back then, nobody thought this was weird in some way. Why does it feel strange now? People tend to familiar patterns. When I know something, it gives me some comfort. I feel well. However, when I am not used seeing one thing, my brain goes instantly on some sort of alarm. It is like looking at a picture and see a mountain upside down, or a tree growing on top of a house. These might be weird examples, but it may create pictures in your head, of which you think they aren’t right that way.

Kid jumping
Is it a boy or a girl? How much does the gender define us?

Kids see the world differently. They don’t fully comprehend what is going on in the world – honestly, do we know all that? Kids don’t care about physics or biology. In their phantasies, everything is possible. A boy who wears a pink skirt and loves glitter is acceptable, until kids learn how things “ought to be”. Parents tell them that mountains are no crates, and that trees need lots of soil to grow which is usually not on rooftops. They also learn about stereotypes like girls wear skirts and boys wear pants. Only a kid would question why girls can wear both but boys can’t. 

You act like a girl. Have you ever heard that sentence? I did, and it was not meant in a nice way. Why? There is no negative word in it. I am a girl. Why would I act like a boy? When did it become a bad thing to be a girl? It is not, but there is this cliché that girls are weak. In some countries, still these days, men can deny a woman to work or to leave the house without their permission. In Saudi Arabia, women have the right to drive cars for only almost a year now. A huge milestone for them. Women can do much more than men think. Girls can wear pants now. That wasn’t so common only 50 years ago. Stereotypes work in both ways. It is created by society to help us that we all can relate to each other. What’s familiar connects us. Anyway, not everyone is the same.

Something different does not automatically indicate bad things. People can relate to those who dare to be unlike others. Maybe they will inspire them to see their true selves. Every person around me is a part of how I see the world. Some have positive effects and some caused negative ones. I learned that everyone has her own story to tell. I do not want to be in their way to tell it. I do not want anyone to say what I have to wear, what I have to think, or how I have to feel. When I wear a dress, I do it. Okay, I am a girl, but even if I wasn’t, that should be no issue. I have seen guys in New York wearing skirts and dresses. Nobody was looking at them, but unfortunately, not every place is like NY.

“A Kid Like Jake”poster
Poster of “A Kid Like Jake” at the IFC Center in New York

In the movie, “A Kid Like Jake”, a little boy doesn’t understand why he cannot be himself. Jake wants to wear what he feels comfortable in, just like any other kid. He wants to play with what he loves the most. Why should these be problems? His parents accept him, and they do everything they can to make him happy. His mother, a former lawyer, knows what should be right. His father, a therapist, can relate to other people’s feelings. How hard must it be for them seeing injustice to their son, feeling with him, feeling so helpless to make his life better? How can they do that, when society “thinks” there is something wrong with him? He is smart, and he is talented. He is like any other kid, and still he is not.

“A Kid Like Jake” is not only about a kid who feels differently, and parents who do their best to support him. It’s about stereotypes and how we deal with them. A boy wearing a skirt might be gay, or maybe he is transgender, even when he is not yet in school. When did a skirt become a piece of cloth that is labeled “for girls only”? Does a skirt make a man instantly gay and does gay mean a “female man”? I think we came a long way of understanding and being more open about other people, but there is still a long way to go. Every kid should watch this movie, maybe even in schools, to learn acceptance and tolerance because everyone can feel differently somehow. Adults should see that as well and think about the effect of putting people into boxes too quickly. It is an easy thing to do, definitely easier than trying to understand and accept. However, think about, do you want to be put into a box? Do you want to be labeled in some way? No one is alike, but everyone is equal. Aren’t we all somehow “A Kid Like Jake” wondering why we should be how others want us?

A Kid Like Jake Q&A
Picture I took during the Q&A with Jim Parsons, Silas Howard and Daniel Pearle after one of the first screenings in NY.
More love and understanding — How the Boys in the Band made me see myself more clearly

More love and understanding — How the Boys in the Band made me see myself more clearly

Have you ever felt different? I definitely have. When I was a teenager, I listened to my friends. I figured out what they loved, only to be able to tell them I’d love the same. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be part of a group. I learned very quickly that whenever I was alone, I became a target. I felt so vulnerable that I preferred to hide. No one saw me, and for some reason, I felt protected around the other guys. However, I thought they were unable to love me for who I really was. I stayed in my little shell. I was 19 when I felt like my existence would not matter. It took me four more years to realize that the issue was not the others.

I was solely focused on being part of a group. I wanted to ensure that the other kids in school liked me. It seemed to be the easiest way acting like a person, who agrees with them on everything. I thought the more we have in common, or I pretend to have in common with them, the more likely they tend to accept me as their friend. Still to this very day, I notice that whenever I meet new people, I act that way. I hide in my shell, listen to others, and only say something when I am sure everyone agrees with me. I am not a person who loves random conversations. It is really hard for me talking to people, even more initiating a conversation, because I often feel I would waste their time. However, I have no problem when someone approaches and starts talking to me, because then I know I am not bothering them. Writing online makes communicating easier because these guys do not have to reply, or they can take their time. When I get messages, it sometimes takes a while for me to answer for exactly the same reason I cannot easily start a conversation in real life – I do not want to force them talking to me. I am complicated, and like I said, different.

Maybe one reason I feel this way is because I was bullied in school every time I was on my own and every time the other kids were united. When each of them was alone as well, they never said or did anything. Therefore, I thought I could only be strong when I was part of a group. It did not really feel safe to tell them what was on my mind, or to tell what I really liked. When I was at that point, when I thought I was only a burden and my life had no purpose, I realized that somehow I had disappeared. I was pretending to be someone else that I almost forgot who I really was. At the age of 23, I finally started to accept myself. It was a slow process, and like I said, even 7 years later I somehow still often tend to hide, but writing a post like this helps me and was not possible back then.

Me in front of the Booth Theatre, on the picture on the doors are Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto and Matt Bomer.

I learned that I was the one who was judging myself the most. How could I expect other people to accept me when I could not do that? When I watched Boys in the Band for the first time, I realized how much I could relate to these guys, especially to Michael. He had this fear that his friend Alan would not accept him anymore if he figured out who he really was. He tried to hide, his look seemed to be the most important thing. He took what he loved, but he did not allow himself to actually love. The question that he asked his friend Donald at the end, “Why do we hate ourselves so much?” kept me thinking. At first, I thought he meant, “hate each other” because they were cursing, and teasing each other. The more I was thinking about it, and about myself, I concluded, that he could have meant as well that everyone hates himself the most. A good question indeed. Why? Why do we hate ourselves so much (thinking we don’t deserve true love)? 

The phone game was another thing that kept me thinking. Normally, it is wonderful telling someone that he is truly loved. However, Michael initiated that because he wanted Alan to admit he was gay too. Did he do that because he was afraid to lose him when he was no longer part of “his” group? Did he do that because he had always been the one denying who he truly is? Did he do that because he was mad at himself? Did he want to be the one pointing his finger at someone because he always felt others did that to him? Had the phone game already begun before Michael started it? Alan called him because he had some issues with his wife, Fran. Maybe Michael was right and Alan’s gay as well, but Justin, the man Michael thought Alan was in love with, was not the man he actually loved, because Alan called someone else before he came to Michael’s apartment. When Alan saw Michael’s reaction, he went back to his shell. Everyone wants a safe place and be loved, so he‘s telling what others want to hear, or at least what some wish to hear.

Maybe I see it like that because of my experiences. I had never understood why some people make such a big deal whether someone is gay or not. When I was a kid and played with my dolls, some of the female dolls had relationships with male dolls or others with female dolls. I simply loved telling stories with them, and I gave each one a unique character and backstory. I was 12 when I first heard the word “gay”. Back then, I did not understand why this word was necessary, because I could not see a difference. It’s love. Period. It does not matter if it’s between two men or two women or a man and a woman. It’s all the same. It’s all love. It has always been normal to me, and I did not understand why anyone would see it differently. 

Booth Theatre, Boys in the Band
Booth Theatre, Boys in the Band

Being a curious person, I once looked for the origin of the word gay. It derives from French. It has the same meaning as it still has in English, in which the former meaning seems to vanish: cheerful, joyful, happy, carefree. It describes perfectly how I see gays, and how they should see themselves, not only in this impeccable play. What looks like a party isn’t always just fun. However, they find a way being who they are. They hide because they feel judged, and unfortunately, they still are by way too many people. We have come so far since 1968, but there is still a long way to go to equal acceptance and treatment. Gays should not hide, not in a closet, and not in an apartment. I am really grateful, that these nine actors show their true selves proudly, making the play’s story even more moving. The look of somebody is one part, it is what other people firstly notice. However, the look is only the outside, it is the shell. What is even more important is the inside, what a person feels. We are all different, we all express and feel love differently, but we all deserve it. There is no right way to love. Love is love, love is for everyone. Every person has to allow himself to feel and show love. There is nothing more precious to share. No one should fear of not being loved for who he or she is. Everyone deserves love. I still listen, but I don’t want to please everyone anymore or tell me what I have to like to be accepted. Why do we hate ourselves so much (allowing others telling us how we should love)? 

 Allow yourself to be who you already are. Be yourself. That is how you start being happy.

Seeing the boys was in some way like looking into a mirror, as I could relate to all characters. It made me think about my life. The show made me laugh, made me cry, and honestly it was the best show I have seen on Broadway this summer. I have read the book and watched the movie before, but as a theater fan I was even more excited to see this play, and it even surpassed my expectations. It was even more intense. I only wished I had asked the cast how much they can relate to their characters. It is not only the cast, but the entire crew making this show wonderful. I love the set design, the lighting, the costumes, the music, and even the smell at the theater. 

If you still haven’t seen The Boys in the Band, make sure you do. It is an outstanding cast telling an important story to which I guess everyone can relate somehow. For me, this show is more than „only for gays“. I saw the show twice, and if I lived closer to New York, I had seen it more often. Thanks to everyone involved. I spoke to almost all of them after the show.  I also came to the stage door once after I had seen another show on Broadway, only to tell people passing by they should come and see the boys. There were a couple of people asking me about the show, and I was glad to tell them about it. Now I cannot do that anymore, so here is this blogpost instead. Run to join the party — at the Booth Theatre until August 11th.

Fear no fear – my way to happiness 

Fear no fear – my way to happiness 

Every new year people make plans, think of how they can improve their lives and get rid of bad habits. I usually made resolutions like eating more healthy, doing more sports, and meeting my friends more often. Just the typical things. This year I want to make things differently. I don’t wanna do what everyone else is doing. I was thinking of what kind of change I really need in my life. Why do I need it now? A ‘normal’ resolution doesn’t work for me, it’s too unpersonal. I am not eager enough to make them work, because it’s what I generally should do more, and maybe almost everyone, but to me New Year’s resolutions have to be more personal. 

These days I feel like being back ten years ago, when I first started my first job. School had been such a safe and happy place for me – except the time when I was bullied. But I could just sit there, being barely noticed, and let the hours pass by. At work I could not hide myself anymore. I needed to do things, I could no longer just sit there and listen. I was scared that I could do something wrong. In school, my fellow students laughed at me when I said something wrong. So, I started feeling insecure. I was scared people at work would laugh at me, too, when I did something wrong. How was I able to handle working the entire day? I was so afraid of failing. 

I had some times when I wanted to stop. But I knew I needed to do this. How can something seem so easy for everyone but me? Why am I the only one struggling with this? I only wanted to hide myself, shut myself off from everyone and everything. I wasn’t prepared for that change. I felt like I had been in a bubble during school. The bubble that protected me was gone now and I had to face the brutal, dark and cold world. Reality became a stranger. Reality started to make me anxious. Every day after work I was too exhausted doing anything but think. My old life was gone. No time meeting friends, all moved away and started being in relationships anyway. I was too tired to write. I was too tired to go out. I was just way too tired.

Thinking of my childhood, I felt I spent it in a bubble somehow.

It felt that I was gone. I simply had to work. In both meanings. No one asked how I felt. It did not matter. Anyone feels that way, but no one bothers anyone with this. I never spoke to my parents, I did not want to be a burden. Not to them, not to my friends, not to anyone. So I started acting. I thought being a grown up is to be fake happy. Happiness is only for kids. Happiness is for those who believe in fairytales, who love fantasies. But that is not for grown ups. They watch horror stories. That is the closest to their lives. 

I don’t see things this bad anymore. Everything has two sides. Contradictions are everywhere. I could not appreciate the good times, without being through bad times. I could not stand up and walk, if there wasn’t the force that keeps me on the ground and the other one that allows me not being glued to it like a rock. Now I know how I am, but I still feel judged too often. It seems no matter what I do, others can do it better. I tend to see the best in others and the worst in me. I am still afraid of failing. It is hard for me to trust people. Finding friends and being in a relationship is so easy for everyone but not for me. I think they all leave me anyway sooner or later. They just use me until they find someone else. They don’t really care about me. Maybe I bother them. Maybe after a while of annoying them that I want to meet up, they are only willing too, that I stop annoying them.

I don’t wanna lie: being around people often scares me. I try to put myself in situations, just go out. But I cannot think enough to find the perfect answer, like I can online. I often don’t know what to say in most situations. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I think there might be some progress in the past ten years, but I still cannot talk about random things like the weather or any gossip. I enjoy more talking about what is going on in the world, talking about science or the origin of words, development of languages. I am different. And so I often feel misunderstood, like an alien in this strange world.

This is my last half year in my twenties. In the past decade I got my first job, worked so I could afford going to college, then I went there, got my bachelor’s degree, then got a second job and a third. Now I finally have one that is permanent. The first that I actually like, because I can write, in German and in English. I can be creative, I can be me. I can handle the working world now, but I still need to learn to trust people. I used to focus on the bad things, so I could convince myself it is best staying at home, letting no one new into my life. Like in court when the lawyer focuses on the facts that supports his client. There are always two sides of everything. And everyone tends to one of them. May it be in politics, in music, in films, whatever. There are things you prefer, that is normal. Everyone has a good and a bad side. Everyone decides which one will take over most of the time. 

Bubbles seem so fragile, but they are strong and colorful. They are not just for kids. Adults can create their own bubbles, too, safe places of happiness that have no room for negativity.

My resolution for 2018 is to fear less. I always thought failing was a bad thing, but it isn’t. Only when I fail, I get closer to my goals. Only if I try and keep trying, believing in myself and never giving up I can make the change that I want. When I hadn’t tried keep mumbling my first words as a toddler, because I was afraid to said things wrong, I would still not be able to talk. And oh how often I fell when I did my first steps. I am thinking too often too much. I have learned that failing is the only thing that helps me to get forward in life. Why was I afraid of failing? Why was I afraid of being me? I love to learn. I love to grow. I love to improve my life. But it is not gonna happen if I keep myself from happiness only because I am afraid of failing. 

Happiness is also for adults. I want to be happy. I want to be me. I don’t wanna be afraid of myself, or of what I am capable of. I can do more than I admit. I don’t wanna hide anymore, and focus on what I cannot do. Not anymore. It is hard. I need to accept that it is okay to be me, that people like me for who I am. Happiness is no fake. Love is no fake. Only when I allow myself to love and be loved, I will be happy. When I learned one thing is that I always feared of being judged by others for who I am, when in fact I was the one judging myself the most.