Berlin Changed my Life

[Written originally on a napkin on my derailed flight home from Connect]

There are always certain things that we don’t know that we know, things which can only be fully discovered when we attempt to explain ourselves to someone else. I discovered something about myself last week, which should have been obvious, allowing myself to place the appropriate due nostalgia on a truly transformative trip.

A little over a year ago I spent three days in Berlin. I had just finished hair classes in Budapest, where I had received a lot of flattering comments from the teachers. It was the first time that hairdressers I deeply respected pulled me aside to tell me that I had talent and potential. I transitioned into visiting friends in Berlin who were feeling a little gloomy. This was lightened by the fact that the sun was making an appearance for the first time in many, many months. The first day or spring is the best day to visit any country. There was so much happiness in the streets, the parks, the fields.

Immediately, Berlin left a significant mark on me. Which isn’t to say enough: Berlin truly changed my life and forever altered my conception of myself as a beauty professional. I saw a distinct and aggressive fashion sense. It was rebellious. It was free, it cared just the right amount. Prior to the trip I had tried to conform to the successful girly-girl stylists I knew. But it was never quite right. It was impossible to make me want the things they wanted, to have passion for dressing, acting, speaking the way they did. For the first time, I saw a fashion I could own. One I could contribute to and belong within. There was a defiant confidence in the culture, a cold coolness that was contagious. It was raw, gritty, undone. It was everything that I had tried to suppress in hopes of finding success as a hair stylist.

Additionally, the art: the graffiti, the murals, the installations. It was a city in adolescence and it renewed within me a certain youthfulness. The art fit so neatly within my own style, invigorating and validating. There was so much I had left behind in order to “grow up,” in order to make it out of adolescence alive. This trip came just in time to reawaken those creatively rebellious impulses and I was ready, mature enough to focus and refine those impulses into a style I could call my own.

Picture below: My shadow interacting with an installation at the Hamburger Bahnhof. Kick ass installation art museum, and I am picky!

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