November 19, 2020

Sometimes, the Bravest Thing to do is Undo.

All I carried with me to Copenhagen was my favorite cup, my clothes, and a vanilla oil that always makes me feel both confident and at peace.

As I was lying in the huge bed the first night, it struck me: I couldn’t hear a thing from the outside world. Not a single sound found its way in.

I didn’t feel any connection to the things surrounding me. The woman who rented me her place had let me move into her home, leaving all her stuff behind. A black table with only two chairs. A plant. A silver chandelier. Some books. The silence and her objects that I didn’t choose made it almost impossible for me to sleep. It even felt as if the hard mattress below was rejecting me. The next morning, biking my way to my new workspace, I kind of already knew:

Moving here was the wrong decision. F*ck!

I left Aarhus and the old beautiful blue villa by the forest, housing nine people. I needed to leave, since my old wolf pack was gone, and I didn’t have the energy to connect with the new people moving in. Somehow, I felt as if strangers were invading my kitchen on Sunday mornings, and I just wanted things to stay the same.

Copenhagen was a fresh start. I was going to explore new streets, eat Indian food, and have exciting conversations with the artists, politicians, and businesspeople who I would meet at parties in theatres and abandon factories.

But that was not the reality.

It was as if every single experience was showing me the dark side of its nature—no matter what I did. Biking the new streets made me confused. The parties were there, but my hands were cold from holding the icy drinks, and all I wanted was to sit in something soft, preferably with familiar faces.

“Give it time,” my friends said.

So I spent most of my evenings in the yoga studios, trying to breathe myself back to balance, taking their words in. I didn’t want to be a quitter. And I felt horrible the whole time trying not to be. I walked and walked. I took warm showers. I used all my go-to strategies. None of them worked. My body was aching, and my mind was unable to focus.

One early morning, I was sitting on a bench. Fall was turning into winter and some swans were passing, sailing on the cold lake in front of me. I was talking to a friend on the phone:

“You are still moving forward, even if you decide to move back home, you know?”

Something heavy dropped deep inside of me. My new life and my success in it was starting to feel like a mission to prove that I could make it in the big city—and I was hurting myself doing so. I decided then and there to let go and to move back to the safe streets of Aarhus.

While I was standing in the middle of the in many ways self-created mess and clearly felt a no inside, I often asked myself what I was going to learn from this. I was embarrassed to have set so much in motion and embarrassed at how strongly I reacted. I felt stupid and quite alien toward myself; I thought I knew what I needed, and this was so obviously not the right change for me.

I am still in the process and, in many ways, have not yet landed after moving back. A Covid epidemic, followed by losing my job kind of keeps it all going! I still have days where I regret that I moved away from my dear collective, but the move has also taught me about being and showing vulnerability.

It is so human to feel small and lonely.

But if loneliness doesn’t take up much space in your own life, it can be difficult to see when others are hurting. By living through these difficult feelings myself, I now find it easier to recognize them in others.

Being closer to my own vulnerability made it clear to me, that sometimes the bravest thing you can do is to undo.


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