Leaving for Love
It’s summer solstice, today. Well, because I am so far up North. It’s directly the opposite where I come from, far down South. And so on this longest day of the year I gathered I would finally have enough time to begin. And what better place to begin, than to remind those who know me, who are experiencing their shortest day, why I am here exactly.
I left Cape Town 475 days ago to live in Germany. I wanted to see what the weather was like, what speaking the language would sound like, and what it would feel like to start all over again at the ripe age of 33. So, just for shits and giggles I packed up my life and set up camp in Deutschland.
There comes a time in all of our lives when we are faced with an ultimatum. A decision so bold both the yes and the no demand fulfilment. To be or not to be, that’s not the question. It runs much deeper than that. To the deep, dark depths of questioning what we have spent the past decades nurturing and manipulating for comfort. That little gold-tinted pot of intuition. What we believe versus what we feel.
As a wee lass I understood the feeling to be nothing other than butterflies flapping around in my tummy, catching the breeze. We all had them inside of us and at times their wings were larger or the breeze stronger. Growing up, the butterflies took on some reverse chrysalis in answer to the call of my nature and morphed into a meandering stream, loaded with emotional sediments, all drowned out and ready to dump itself on the oxbow of resentment. Making decisions were never easy. And so the banks built themselves up as great beaches for bad choices to sunbathe.
Ok, it’s not always that difficult for me to say yes or no. I don’t wake up and hover over myself deciding which foot to move first. Especially once I’ve made it to the kitchen. What should I do? Should I boil, poach, scramble or fry this egg? Or should I throw in some garlic, rosemary, parmesan, asparagus, potatoes, peas and turn it into a fat frittata? Mummy would always tell me to listen to my gut. In this case, perhaps ignoring it would serve me better. But when it comes to food, I only ever listen to my gut.
When it comes to love – not familial love, that’s totally different. As in pang pang goes the bullet of butterflies flapping their giant wings on steroids in gale force winds kind of love, I find my differentiation between good and bad decisions completely off the charts. Yes, I am fully rehearsed with the course of action of being in love, and thus been presented with many big decisions to make on many occasions prior. But nothing had quite come close to this hand of cards I had to play. Damn you, dealer.
And yes, you can be sure, it was definitely harder than the decision Meryl Streep had to make in Sophie’s Choice. I mean, all she had to do was decide which child she loved the most. I, on the other hand, had to choose whether to stay in the home that I had finally created, or to journey to the unknown, unthinkable, for the undressing of my unquestionable love, for another person. Shits and giggles, I tell you. Shits and giggles.
I had moved to Cape Town 9 years prior to my departure date, following a long stint of fun living in Europe (another blog, another time). I had embarked on an acting career in the Mother City of all cities, tossing the proverbial soil, grabbing onto the wings of winds of change, sailing along the seas of the great adventure (again, another blog, another time), all in answer to the call of intuition. I spent 6 remarkable years climbing, seeking, sowing, nesting, swimming and so on. And then I met someone who lived away from all of this, and fell in love.
We frolicked in the water at sunset, we ate fish ’n chips on the rocks watching whales as we burped beer. We spoke each others words without considering our own thoughts. We said goodbye to each other for periods of 4 to 6 months at a time. And here reads the tale of a 3-year-long-distance relationship between the shores of The Cape of Good (and desperate) Hope, and Hamburg. Jokes. (abat).
So, anyway, as I was saying…
There comes that ultimatum; I had never found two questions so difficult to answer. So I turned to my good friend Carrie Bradshaw in New York and apparently I made her think. She wrote me this email:
*“Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”*
So I’m in Hamburg now, because I left Cape Town to live with a man and every morning I make frittatas, one foot after the other, gazing at our butterflies.
Record of this post – Nina Simone – Feeling Good