pictures taken by Laura Zeppelin
pictures taken by Laura Zeppelin
Break it apart, this white light, and you will see- color. All, inconspicuous to the naked eye. Aid it; with insight, empathy and understanding…a landscape manifests itself. Full of contrast: darkness, light- visibility.
Some days I spend quite some time on assembling an outfit, on other days I go for a pair of jeans and a black or white t-shirt.
Black and White. I see it as an expressive form of utilizing clothes- the strongest and most dominant choice one could make in my eyes. When the canvas is as plain as possible- denim and a t-shirt in white or black, you paint the picture with your colors. Your personality and everything that you are. Endless. It might sound ridiculous, but here is the thing: I wear three pieces of jewelry every day and night- a silver ring around my ring finger, a choker and a lock pendant in gold around my neck. I usually never take these off. Last summer and now more often, I am asked or ask of myself to take these off for certain activities. Activities where I see it as necessary to let go of what I have defined myself as, letting go of the minor details that materialistically ground me in reality. To explore and see again. Awareness without judgement- observant, seeing it all, taking it in. So I let go, place them on a tray. To relocate and re-center. The energetic and vibratory truth of who I am at the core- without bedazzlement or costume; naked.
Even if I do not take the jewelry off and merely go for “just“ a t-shirt, I feel the most comfortable, at ease and confident. I am not constrained by a piece of clothing, that takes my thoughts of awareness to worrying about something to sitting right. I can just be and move freely.
The focus does not lie on the canvas, its texture, fabric or origin, but rather the colors, these rich, full and glistening colors. Finally, finally, they can show and shine through. Expression is found in language- of the body: the eyes, the movement of the hands and fingers, the tilting of the head. To the right, or left, at what angle? The gravity lies in the minute details. See! Expression is found in language- of words: How do the words I have spoken effect others, what energy flows toward them as I speak ? Attentively I watch them, receive their energy and process their language of body and words. It is a continuous back and forth of energy- in flux.
What is left, when you strip it down to a simple canvas, a simple silhouette. You. This vast landscape of color, light and truth.
Photos by Felicitas Willkomm
We sit around this small table that is cluttered with wallets, rolling tobacco, filters papes, a fresh ginger tea, a small sparkling water, two gin tonics and nuts. New faces, new people- smalltalk, rapid fire questions, the usual.
The first question: Who are you? So many words roaming through my head to answer this seemingly innocent, uncomplicated and straight forward questions. Should I utter the long, ambiguous and undefined answer-which is an oxymoron in itself? Or should I propound my ethnicity, country of residence, name? Okay…the name it is; it is simple, short and introduces myself well enough; for starters. Our names- all distinctively different, given to us under different circumstances, each holding meaning, each associated with special traits of character, each a label. Judged- by past experiences the listeners have made with people holding that name. Nonetheless, our name is always what sets our foot in the door: we greet people with our name, we sign off with our name. It is almost omnipresent and so are we.
Where are you from? The two cogwheels are turning, trying to set something into motion, trying to get grip of each other. By ethnicity I am labeled as this, through my country of residence since birth I am labeled as this and inside I am… Neither do I identify as only the one or the other. Does this mean I do not not fit in, do not belong anywhere? No. I am everything- all ethnicities, cultures that I was exposed to, that I grew up in. What I learnt in one, is feared in the other- a woman, a religion, an opinion. What I learnt in each enriched me, helped me grow and flourish. I am both, or none at all. I am a citizen of this planet, this world. I find a piece of myself beyond these, in other cultures, traditions and religions. In this box, trapped and enclosed by walls to constrain this boundlessness, this endless potential. Together- we can bring these walls to collapse. An accumulation of box templates, tiles that slowly move towards each other to create new patterns, transitions- without walls, gaps or limitations. We belong everywhere or no where at all.
Well, what brought you here? A time lapse, in my head. Trying to connect all the small dots that lead me here to a line- a line of decisions and chances. It all started with a movie really, and then I read the novel the movie was based on, diving into this world of fiction and subversion, a mirror of our lives. Then- a sleepless night, spent on the computer, watching videos, reading articles and all of a sudden looking up schools… Out of nowhere, to my disbelief the plane ticket was booked, still not fully aware of the situation, what would be ahead of me, what grounding and self-developing journey I would embark….But now, here I am, seated at this table. Well…First I was shy, then I took the initiative and started talking to this one person and he was friends with the other two, so here we are, gathered around this table- all that connects us or maybe more? I could have been somewhere else if I did not: watch this movie, read this book, was restless and sleepless in bed, boarded this plane. Now- I am assured that we met each other for a reason. I can see a piece of me in each of them. I know that when I leave this table their presence, words and being will have left an impact on me. It all happened for a reason, and shaped me. Us.
We are our journey. We are in flux, ever changing- everything. Everything we want ourselves to be- disregarding labels, boxes and words that limit ourselves. We are boundless. We matter, the place we hold in this world matters. Our actions, voices matter. Together- we are.
Where did it come from, all of a sudden? From within? From outside? From me? From them? Could it have been this city, that granted me this ability, this trait? Possibly…no Im certain of it. A side of me that hasn’t received any light, water and hope, a side that couldn’t grow or flourish. A flower that hasn’t been given the environment it needed, to grow, flourish and blossom. But here- this environment- it gave it all that: light to shine, water to grow, air to breathe and hope to be bold.
There must have been something about this place, that made the conditions just right. It only took a week, seven days- I felt it in my heart, I saw it in the sky, how the stars align. No more! I quit, I’m done- with being timid to undermine my capabilities, biting my tongue to keep me from saying what I want to, being in denial of who I really am. Bold.
I see it everywhere; boldness I mean. I see it in myself, I see it in others, bust most importantly I believe in it; this world. A world of making bold choices, choices that might scare me, be outside of my comfort zone- but this is merely a limitation I placed on myself, I am boundless, I can be bold- I need to be, for me to be me. To dare and float in waters unknown, unnamed, undefined. Risk the step, confidently, on shaking grounds. There is no coming back from this, awakened, it erupts, breaks free. Only forward, always bold.
For a while however, when the circumstances changed, once again. It vanished. It was gone. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I was determined, nonetheless, to return to this state of boldness, my true self- where I was permitted to be confident, risk, fall and stand up again- with arms waiting for me to grasp them. It cannot be, I couldn’t accept it- that all of this, all of this stirring and shaking up was bound to this once place.
Boldness means independence, detachment from place and circumstance. But what kind of flower can be unrooted from the grounds where it prospered? None that I knew. But…a flower that can grow without light, water and air is one that can never be disheartened, dried or suffocated. One that will prevail eternally and live boldly, always.
I strive, every day, to seek these unknown, unnamed and undefined waters, the shaking grounds. I want to swim, float, bathe in them. I want to walk, jump, dance on them. And whenever my gaze moves up, my head rests in my neck and looks up, into the sky- I know that this, boldness, the feeling it evokes, is what I need- to grow, develop and flourish. That this is the path I need to follow, that here, the daring, bold and untested, is where I need to be. I will not settle for the ordinary, I will trust, I will not emote, I will not fabricate, I will be. Bold.
Pants- I am Gia The Label
Ankle Boots- Saint Laurent
Shot by Sarah Johanna
Sitting at the bottom of the sea,
And yet she is the queen
Of waters: shaking, splashing surrounding
Her outer shell. Irrefutably treasured
The greatest treasure, however,
She houses within
Untouched and unseen it is
To the waving waters
The moving molluscs
Hers alone it has been.
Irrupted has the pebble
The silence, comfort, harmony
She was so acquainted with
But no more
Pandemonium. Riot. Tumult.
All within the shell, the guard
She held so true to her heart.
Nothing as such is known
Because she always has been her own
True to herself. True to her heart.
However small, however big.
Coated with a careful layer of nacre
Saving the heart that is so sacred
Is it hers to keep for eternity?
Shot by Sarah Johanna
Daring to act; withstanding expectations, rules and opinions. Stepping outside of our comfort zone is something we rarely do on a day to day basis. What is it that hinders us from doing so? Fear- of failing, disappointing or not living up to expectations. Are these, however, expectations from us to ourselves or what others expect from us? If it is the latter we need to gather the COURAGE to step out of our comfort zones. Our motivation should not be for pleasing others and thus gaining a certain status or self satisfaction, but rather for the „thing“ itself, whatever it might be. So why not gather the courage and act upon the ideas we have and want to realize. Disregarding the doubting questions of whether this new step we are about to take complies with our previous actions, what others expect from us or even what we expect from ourselves. Dare. Be Courageous. We grow with our actions and the littlest of things could be outside of our “comfort zone“- expressing a thought that might stir up a discussion, standing by your opinion or approaching someone in public. I might have been shy or nervous when doing some of the previously mentioned, yet they are not outside of my comfort zone. There is not necessarily something I have done that I would label as daring or courageous. Nonetheless, I am eager to say yes more often, despite it potentially being beyond what I have imagined or thought of for myself.
The “new“ things were often “unknown“ or “unimaginable“, yet by gathering courage we can make these known and imaginable. When do we consider something as new? The definition varies, yet the process undergone is most likely the same- the innovator or creator has taken the courage to create something unexpected, unthought of and thereby shapes the standards of what is considered as being “new“ and people’s opinions. Society might first question the idea, yet once it has become reality they might think differently. Most importantly however, we need to rediscover our IMAGINATION. It might have been forgotten due to expectations, ideals and etiquette. Only so we can think without being in a box in the first place, outside of our comfort zones, outside from society’s standards and outside from expectations.
“The rule is the worst thing. You just want to break it“ – Oscar Niemeyer
The Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg is now considered as the prime landmark of the city. After 10 years of construction and cost overruns, expectations and critique kept on growing until there were mainly two opinions: hate or love. To me, Pierre de Meuron and Jacques Herzog, the architects of the Elbphilharmonie, have created something “new“ and previously unimaginable- a landmark, residential building, hotel and acoustically advanced concert hall all in one. Standing on the escalators themselves was already impressive as it is. I felt a little like Alice, falling down the rabbit hole, being drawn into a different, to me still unknown world- the light installations, rounded off stair cases, the daring contrast of white and brick. Personally, I cannot wait to attend a concert at some point, the tickets are sold out for months in advance at the moment… For the time remaining I can appreciate this landmark’s architecture, visit the Plaza and enjoy its power of bringing people together. Most importantly, however, it has inspired me to dare, be courageous and live and act without the limitations of the known and expected.