Exactly a year ago I landed in Barcelona with one bag, my guitar, a broken heart and no real plans. I would stay for two months and then spend the winter Carcavelos in Portugal, in a simple but cosy little studio apartment I had found right by the beach. I had already put in the deposit for my studio in Portugal and I was excited to finally live by the ocean. I had spent a year living temporarily in different places, hoping I would land somewhere that felt like home, where I wanted to stay.
I was in a phase of healing and figuring out my next chapter in life.
My time in Barcelona became my in-between moment. My right to get lost in nothingness. No plans for the future, not yet healed from the past, and I enjoyed dancing in the middle.
One month in I got an offer to move into a flat in Berlin, and there was just something about it I couldn’t let go of. I didn’t want to give up my dream of being a songwriter, but moving out to Portugal would mean a winter in isolation. I was so lonely I cried every day, but I had sort of given up hope that things would ever change.
I saw Berlin as my last shot at all those things. I will make one last try, I said. I will give it all I have, one last time. I asked the owner of the studio in Portugal if I could push the deposit forward to this winter instead. I will spend one last year trying my best in Berlin, then I’ll settle by the beach somewhere quiet and simple, I thought. I almost cry when I write that today because it makes me so sad that I was 28 years old and had already given up on ever being happy and loved and surrounded by warmth. I had already accepted that I would always be lonely and was ready to live alone by the ocean because that’s how I felt inside.
I moved into the apartment in Berlin end of November, leaving Barcelona for darkness and cold. “It’s just one year,” I kept saying. One year of saying yes to absolutely everything. Every opportunity, every encounter, every person. I would forget about everything I thought people saw me as and just push forward.
It really is quite magical how you can build a completely new life in just 12 months. If you’re ready to give up everything you were before. If you’re willing to let go of everything you thought you had to be and do and how to do it. I still feel lonely some days but I think it’s more of a habitual feeling I turn to sometimes and I have learned to remind myself that I am not lonely anymore. I have beautiful people around me that make me feel seen and appreciated and I’m working really hard to build deeper connections, not just staying temporary neighbours. I make an effort to reach out, to show up, to go the extra mile.
I felt really insecure as a songwriter in the beginning of this year because my career didn’t work out the way I hoped it would and I was sort of ... ashamed? But I love nothing more than helping other artists tell their stories and let them bloom with the song and the spark in our eyes when we’re hitting the right words with the right melody and everyone’s energy sort of makes a little thunder. So I’m still working on trusting my abilities. I must believe I can contribute something special? I think we all can, but I didn’t believe it for so long.
I work on myself, still, to not fall into old patterns of thinking low and dark and little of myself and I wake up every morning visualising the life I still am working hard on building. But I feel safe, and hopeful, for the first time in my life, maybe, because this year showed me that I can count on myself to change. I can count on myself to step up and learn new skills and change my ways and do what’s needed, and that accountability changes everything.
Anyway. Today I wrote to the landlord in Portugal saying she can keep the deposit and that maybe I’ll come next winter but for now I need to be here because for the first time in my life I don’t feel lonely and I need to protect that feeling with everything I have.