Right now I am sat on a plane to Vancouver. I have never been to Canada. I don’t know anyone there. And in all honesty I don’t even remember why I was determined to make it one of my stops in the first place.
After packing my bags in London and embarking on a floating-around-the-globe adventure, I spent a month in Los Angeles, with a pit stop in Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.
L.A. was supposed to be a cushioned gateway to ease into the flow of my journey and get used to the feeling that I don’t have a permanent home anymore. ‘Cushioned’ because I knew I was staying with my friends and their two little kids. I visited them before, I knew what to expect. There was an established daily routine I become part of. I was not the driving force of making plans, scheduling things, deciding what to do. I was one fifth of the family.
I could probably write a short novel about my month in L.A., how the vibe of the city affected me and how (at least when you also work in film, like I do) you can feel its grip tightening around you. Its promise of a better life, a sunnier future and the fulfilment not only of your potential but also of your wildest dreams. I heard many people talk about getting stuck in L.A. despite not coping well with the success-driven atmosphere that fills the street just like its insane pollution.
So what do I feel now that I am 10 000 feet above it and turning away? Well, there is a big part of me screaming let’s stay. Let’s just dance more nights away in Hollywood right next to actors I admire. Maybe I’ll meet the producer who’ll fall in love with my TV show and finds the rest of the funding. Maybe that would happen if I only stayed one more night. Or two. Or three. Another month max.
It’s funny. Five days before I had to leave, I was so ready to move on. I felt excited about Canada, which everyone always describes as such a lovely place full of tolerance and kindness. I was ready because I knew I needed to take control of my life again. As nice as it is to be part of a little family, I am neither mother, sibling, wife nor auntie there - I am still an outsider and it was time to focus on my own life again. Doing everything on my terms and moving forward.
But during the final days in L.A. things happened as if the city was gonna make sure it wasn’t letting me go easily. First, opportunities popped up. I randomly found myself signing a contract as a rep for a company close to my heart with a tempting financial incentive should I succeed in bringing European clients onboard. In a matter of hours I bumped into people with ties to such potential clients, and big ones at that. Needless to say that of course I made sure my own show is included in any of those deals.
Secondly, I was gifted a session with an energy healer - a London girl nonetheless and hearing that particular accent made me feel at home. Now, I truly believe in many things, some ancient, some scientific, some religious. My venture into Reiki was one of those curious discoveries, which freed me of my guilt about not being able to help my friend who got stabbed. I still have no idea how it worked but it did. So naturally I am extremely open and curious when it comes to other people’s belief systems and I love experiencing a glimmer of each of them before deciding how much of it I take onboard. When I had my session in L.A. with this lady who’s got a tonne of charisma and an incredibly warm vibe, I was nevertheless ready to dismiss most of it. I didn’t want to hear that my planets are better in some remote village or that my life purpose actually was anything but being a creative.
None of that happened. Instead and to my complete surprise she told me with a huge smile that in this lifetime I was simply here to enjoy. My soul was on a break and didn’t have anything to learn. In other words: Just chill. She then said that my main purpose was to create. In any shape or form. There also was no particular place, which was better than another. The world is your oyster, she told me. Wherever you go, whatever you create - anything is possible for you..
Apparently I had a lot of hardship in previous lives and this one was simply the life where I could enjoy that I already learned how important humanity and kindness are. I was told I was on a different frequency. I just needed to take the pressure off myself and nurture my self-confidence.
I walked out honestly not knowing what to think. Who am I to say that there are no previous lives? We are all energy, and energy is never lost - it simply transforms from one thing into another. So why not?
And if I didn’t believe it, wasn’t it still nice to hear that I apparently was on this planet right now to enjoy life? To create? Follow my bliss?
Instead I felt somewhat crushed. Maybe there was a part in me, which had hoped I was gonna be told: “You should move to Rome and become a lawyer.” It would have offered an explanation why things have in fact not been easy: because I had done the wrong things in the wrong place. It should have all been in the stars.
But now that the stars were telling me to simply go for pleasure and continue being creative, I felt lost. There never seemed to be any clear answers, paths or decisions in my life. Somehow the session had set things in motion within me that triggering my anxiety. Perhaps this was because enjoying life and releasing my self-made pressure is probably the biggest challenge for me.
On to the third encounter L.A. gave me as a good-bye present: You know how you should never hook up with an ex? Yeah? I do, too. Very well.
Guess what I did.
I thought I was embracing my new slogan “Go for pleasure” and foolishly tricked myself into believing that I had the ‘independent woman move’ down to the T - I could spend a night with him and leave the country without any emotional damage two nights later. Done. Off to Canada without looking back.
My gut feeling told me that this was not a good idea but I shut my intuition down and jumped into a cab. From a fun evening spent salsa-dancing with some new friends, I went to the suffocating quietness of a bedroom I was not supposed to be in. I felt immediately disconnected and thought, if it was true that my soul had learned its lessons already, this was definitely one I kept repeating over and over again.
In the middle of the night I could not help myself but bring up how we left things the last time. I wanted to get that hug you can’t have when everything is done over the phone across two continents. I wanted to hear that despite it not having worked out, I was still appreciated and loved as a human being. I wanted to feel just a little bit special to him. Why couldn’t I get that when I was leaving anyways? What harm would it have done him to embrace my insecurities? Oh well. I actually do these things when I break up with someone but maybe most people don’t want to be comforted by the person who dumped them. I for one do. Spread the word.
Funny enough at 2am he ended up saying “Mari, it’s like you’re on a different frequency. You are on 4.6 and here I am in my room on 2.3.” It didn’t register then that he had unknowingly confirmed what the energy healer said hours earlier about my frequency.
We managed to put the subject to bed and in the morning I even apologised for bringing up the old drama. We had a deep conversation about life, one that made me remember why I actually liked this person in the first place when a knock at the door interrupted us. His flatmate wanted to give Lisa something. He must have heard a female voice and assumed I was Lisa.
The man next to me needed a few seconds to compose himself and told his flatmate to go away. Ironically the flatmate just didn’t get it and kept talking to Lisa through the closed door. Honestly, I didn’t even have to ask who she was, so cliched was this scenario.
The new girlfriend, the found soul mate - his bae. Of course.
Now here is the question: Did I really need to hear this?
Clearly I was meant to know it - the way I found out would have been comedic had it not happened to me.
He told me that it was all very new with her and he didn’t consider our night together cheating. I kept telling myself, I’m leaving in two days. In two days I’m gone. So who cares if he had a girlfriend now. We had stopped whatever we shared back then because he didn’t want to have another long-distance relationship. This girl lived in L.A. - a fellow artist of his who unlike my goofy self also looked the part.
Will they be happy together? I don’t know. But why would I wish him anything but happiness? Let them prosper on the other side of the globe.
What actually hurt me was: why didn’t I have someone?
I didn’t cry. I just felt nothing. After I witnessed my friend being stabbed whilst we were mugged last year, I have developed the handy ability to disconnect from the moment. Even if something hurts me a lot, I will genuinely feel completely normal until I arrive at a safe place to collapse.
Standing by the taxi he kissed me on the mouth and hugged me tight. I said that it would probably be a few years before our paths crossed again. L.A. wasn’t for me. He grinned and said: “Oh, you’ll be back sooner than you think.” And in that moment I worried that it was true.
The cab door closed and I held it together until I arrived back in Santa Monica. Even then I genuinely wasn’t sure what I was sad about.
When I couldn’t stop crying the following day and my friend threatened she would not let me fly to Vancouver alone if I was in this state, I called my mum and dad back home in Germany. I told them about all the things which had happened in the last few days, the good and the bad.
My mum said: “Mari, someone decided that another person is a better option than you are. Of course that hurts you.” But I was done with the guy and had been for months, I reasoned, I never had the intention of rekindling the romance - and wasn’t I leaving for Canada in the morning?
As true as my mum’s instincts were, it wasn’t the whole picture. Yes, what happened hurt. Nobody enjoys being in bed with someone whilst accidentally hearing that the person next to you is in a relationship. But more importantly, what it did was to amplify the already lurking and much bigger anxiety about heading to a place without anyone waiting for me on the other side. Thanks to him I felt so much more alone than before. A little voice in my head kept saying, everyone is loved except you. Poor old Mari trying to outrun her emotions of panic from one country to the next because she can’t make life work in any of them. It’s a mean little voice I’ve trained very hard to silence but in these moments it’s loud and clear.
So what if I had ten days of utter loneliness ahead? What do people do in a place by themselves without any connections?
They reach out and make them, my mum said as if I was six years old and scared of my first day at school. But she was right. So instead of cancelling my flight, staying in the comfort zone of my friend’s home in L.A. and giving my anxiety a platform to blossom, I shook my body the way I have been told by so many people, took a deep breath and went to the airport.
Canadians are pretty lovely people, or so I’ve heard.
...Preferably on a 4,6 frequency!