I don't quite believe it, probably because I've made half a dozen firm plans to leave Berlin in the past 3 months and have remained here despite all of them. But, well. Going 'home' is different, I guess. You're not supposed to skip your flight back to the other side of the world. Probably, I'll go this time.
I don't want to. I don't want to go 'home'. I don't want to be back in Australia. I don't want to leave grim, grey Berlin for bright, hot Sydney. I don't particularly fancy trading icy bike rides and a thousand layers of coats for beaches & sunshine. My housemates, staring down the barrell of 3 months of cold and dark, think I'm completely fucking insane, of course. And yes, it is kind of insane. But the only thing that makes me happy about leaving here is the knowledge of returning (as fast as I possibly can).
There are so many things to look forward to in Australia. So many friends, so much love, the million beautiful things that made up my life there. But that's the point, really. I had such a good life in Sydney, and I was miserable. That's how I knew, how I know, that leaving was absolutely the right thing.
I had a life full of delight, full of joy: full of the explicit acts that bring joy into a life. Full of love and the best friends and the sparkliest nights and the most beautiful beaches. A garden that flourished and fed me, a creative, kinky, queer, progressive community around me, a family that I am loving getting to know as an adult. And I was fucking miserable.
What do I have here? I don't have my garden (and I ache with missing the act of growing things). I don't have my sprawling network of amazing friends, although I am (slowly) building one here. I don't get to go to the beach and snorkel whenever I want to. I don't get to stroll down King St and connect with a dozen people to brighten my day. I haven't found clubs that play the heavy, pounding music I really crave. I spend a lot of time alone. I have cold streets, early dark, icy winds. Isolation, introversion. And I am so fucking happy.
It has taken a while to rise to the surface, to clarify itself, but there you go. I am so fucking happy here, despite having none of the things that reliably brought joy into my life. I am living, finally, without that scratchy-tense-anxious need to escape that was so persistently a part of my life in Sydney, for so long, that I thought it was an indelible part of me. Perpetually dissatisfied. Wondering how I could be so miserable and maudlin in the face of so many good things (will I never be satisfied, comfortable, happy enough?).
Getting to know myself in the absence of that constant tension is a delight. Hey, look! I LIKE myself! I think I'm a good person! I really fucking enjoy my own company! I feel satisfied and comfortable in myself! I know that I can meet my own needs, take care of myself, go it alone, and it feels amazing. I disappoint myself sometimes, don't succeed at everything, and that's OK. I have empathy for myself, for my weaknesses and failings. I am proud of myself when I do well. I reward myself with the things that I really want, which turn out for the most part to be long bike rides alone, and really nice foods from the markets.
I have resisted adamantly setting up a life here that would mirror or replicate my life in Sydney. I have dodged commitments, people, social spaces, sex, projects, play, adventures. I say "no" a hell of a lot more than I say "yes". Life is austere, almost monastic. I wonder if I am exhibiting early signs of impending spinster-crazy-cat-ladyhood, and find that I don't actually care.
Not being involved is amazing. Not putting energy out into the world. Not dressing up, much. Not performing. Not sparkling. I feel like some tremendous weight has lifted off my shoulders, the pressure to all the time live up to myself, live up to my own self-image and the one other people have of me. It feels so good that I spend a lot of time dancing around my room singing loudly along to trashy songs, and humming out of tune as I hang out in the kitchen, and reciting poetry and laughing out loud as I ride my bike from somewhere beautiful to somewhere else beautiful.
So when I think about going back to Sydney, I feel some fear. I feel the gift to myself of these months to be absolutely myself, absolutely directed only by what I want, coming to an end. I have to forcefully remind myself that a few months of going to the beach all the time and being surrounded by people that I love is not actually a punishment, and could be considered a very nice thing.
And on the other side of a hot, fierce Australian summer: a slow and gentle European spring. I want to be back here in time to see the thaw, and watch the days lengthen. Find a patch of ground, maybe, and sow some seeds.