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Sex, Death, and Static Cling in Berlin -or- The Story of My Life

Sex, Death, and Static Cling in Berlin -or- The Story of My Life

Life is weird. I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but I’m just here to reaffirm the facts for us both.

Recently I sat in a metal tube that hurtled my body through time and space and deposited my discombobulated ass on an entirely different continent. It’s not the first time I’ve done such a thing, but I overthink stuff more now, so it therefore takes longer for my brain to catch up.

My consciousness gets stuck in the ozone. Even more than usual.

This trip to Berlin was a breathtakingly beautiful, fantastic, wreck. I love-hated every stellar second of it.

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I adore seeing new things, and am eternally fascinated by the variety of human cultures, language, art, architecture, the way cities are constructed, destroyed, and rebuilt again and again, showcasing the resilience, the tenacity, the ordinary, the extraordinary, the normal and the not-so-normal-but-normalized habits of human beings.

Also, I’m a mom with ever-increasing doily barrow brain. I like to be comfortable. I like to have my basic needs met. I hate airplane kankles. I’m afraid of being yelled at (thanks, prison!), and I’m generally getting more and more sensitive to sensory input.

So it was a valuable, but exhausting, experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything and mostly, it made being home that much more awesome.

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In no particular order, here are some things I got yelled at for in Germany:

Okay, maybe schooled with a great deal of really impressive deadpanning, or politely alerted by a lovely people whose culture is foreign to me and whose language was abrupt-ish, or maybe they were yelling at me. I’m kind of a mess when I’m out of my comfort zone. Try not to be shocked.

  • Sitting in the wrong seat on the airplane.
  • Having lavender body spray over the size limit even though the bottle was half full.
  • Sitting in the wrong seat again. Ahem.
  • Not wanting to eat salad with a spork.
  • Not being able to read German. (“Ausfahrt” means “exit”. I can read that now. Also, I can’t stop laughing like Beavis about it.)
  • Waiting patiently for my turn to order a lox sandwich in a crowd that turned out to be a line that I hadn’t gotten into at the end. (Apparently the man was saying “no cutsies”. I get it now.)
  • Having luggage over six kilos.
  • Not knowing the six kilo rule.
  • Not knowing what a kilo is. (My own self-loathing got me on this one.)
  • Having a German engineered *ahem* toy in my luggage that looked like a bomb? Really? (They didn’t yell. Just laughed and pointed and laughed some more. I’m such a cliché.)
  • Almost getting hit by a bike.
  • Actually getting hit by a bike.
  • Asking a shopkeeper for Static Guard, which, apparently does not exist in Europe. (I did not get yelled at here, though I did get sprayed with hairspray and looked at incredulously.)

Hey, Europe, we may not be linguistically or geographically fluent with sexy accents and tiny edible bowls for our jam… BUT WE HAVE AN ANSWER FOR STATIC CLING.

This whole static cling situation happened just moments before I was supposed to be on stage for my talk at Alive in Berlin. My talk was titled “Telling Your Life Story as a Love Story” and, with my new silk dress up my butt, I was struggling to walk my talk. So many puns.

It’s that weird, compound stress of being somewhere phenomenal, sexy, historic and getting to do something so fantastic and fortunate, and feeling like a hairless raccoon at a walrus party.

Story of my life.

Also, love story of my life.

Because, yeah, despite all the awkward animalness of everything, my life really is a love story. All of our lives are love stories whether we’re complaining about our all-expense paid trip to Berlin or blissfully doing the laundry. The best love stories are loaded with discomfort, discontinuity, and defeats, in addition to swooning.

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So, ever the American MacGyver, I sprayed all of my remaining lavender body spray (two birds! no more airport yelling!) on the dress, and then rubbed myself all over the nearest bit of metal I could find AKA I humped a radiator.

Aw yeah.

Radiator humping is how I warm up for all my talks.

Warm up. Get it?

God I’m tired of me. Aren’t you?

::takes another nap and vows to never leave basement again::

Anyway, the talk was good. I hope. I love to connect with people that way. No matter the neurosis I carry with me wherever I go, it’s always up to me to be my own place of peace. And I was.

And the other speakers and attendees were fantastic. I met some really great people doing really exotic and visionary things in the world.

Emily Penn and I bonded over shared favorite artist, James Turrell. She takes explorers out on a vessel called Sea Dragon, and is kind of single-handedly spearheading a massive effort to expose of the need for rescuing our oceans, its animals, and its islanders from the onslaught of disposable plastic. A real life heroine.

Dave Cornthwaite is a combination of all the grit and joy and ginger jokes you’ve never imagined. He takes varied non-motorized vehicles thousands of miles all over the planet like he doesn’t even have a critical inner voice. Watching him makes you realize that simple determination, and loyalty to one’s own word, is spirit work of the highest order.

Neil Hughes wrote a book called Walking on Custard & The Meaning of Life: A Guide for Anxious Humans. It is one of the smartest conversations about the importance of mindfulness and self care in the maintenance of an intelligent, albeit tenuous, mind space I’ve ever read. Also, it’s fucking hilarious, which is refreshing. I’m so over earnest discussions about anxiety.

And dear Jana Schuberth whose blood, sweat and tears made it all happen. So much gratitude for that skydiving, rainbow-haired wonder woman.

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I’m looking forward to the next thing.

I’m also looking forward to a long rest to digest. I love my home, my bed, and my goofball chosen family. For the first time in my life the opportunity to create stability, dig deep wells, and plant strong roots pulls harder at my core than any other kind of adventure.

I’m comfortable letting the others do it and share the lessons with me via social media.

It actually seems fantastically rebellious to stay put.

The Staying Mostly in One Place Adventure Series by Meg Worden.

The adventure of sticking to regular exercise while running a business! The adventure of raising a teen in a complex world! The adventure of figuring out what to eat every day! The adventure of going to both the bank and the grocery store in a single afternoon! The adventure of figuring out health care options! And maybe some investments!

I’m stupid excited.

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Because I’m not bored.  I’m not stuck. I’m really happy. And I’m committed to deep, foundational movement to support further reaching upwards and outwards for me and my son. Really deep movement looks a whole lot like stillness.

It’s regular living, discernment, digestion, cautious optimism, and unwavering belief that things can be better for the humans if we keep trying.

There will be more travel. Of course. I’ll likely go back to Berlin. It’s gorgeous.

But I am confident don’t need to break any world records, or be a nomad to be normal. And you probably don’t either. It’s cool that it’s possible in this world, and I love knowing people who do it. But it isn’t required. Normal is crazy enough.

What we’re already doing? We can just keep doing that. Alone and together. Okay?

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Oh right. The death bit. I may or may not have stolen a chunk of an old German tombstone for my son. Please don’t yell at me even though I might deserve it for being a graverobber. Also, crypts, all the crypts, oh my god, those Willhelm Freidrichs really knew how to crypt!

And, lastly, the tiny matter of my airplane catching fire on the very last leg of my twenty-seven hour journey home. Let the hot jokes begin and never end.

Love you guys the most.


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3 Responses to Sex, Death, and Static Cling in Berlin -or- The Story of My Life

  1. Vanessa says:

    Hi Meg,
    Great to read about your experience in Berlin. It was truly touching to hear you at “Alive’, thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.
    With love,

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  3. Bob e Thomas says:

    Okay, yeah, you pretty much got it right. I came here from Salon where I greatly enjoyed your interview on your experiences in prison… re: your Berlin experience, I’ve been living in Germany for almost 8 years, and figuring out what things are called (and dealing with the Germans’ certainty that there is a right way and wrong way to do everything, and that it should be obvious to anyone with a brain, because, yes indeed, they have long-ago figured out the right way which they will now explain to you…) and all such things still sometimes makes for a struggle (and a headache… and embarrassment… um, yes, and always, even now, in one way or another a source of embarrassment)…
    Anyway, to know what something is called in German requires a) a good knowledge of German vocabulary and b) a good knowledge of how Germans see the world, especially “scientific” and “technological” things… like anti-static spray… so here’s an link to anti-static spray… … oh, yeah, me, I’m good! only too me 20 seconds to figure out the search terms… during the first couple of years here I would sometimes spent days doing random searches on the internet trying to figure out what things are called so I could order something on Ebay or Amazon (going live to a store meant knowing which store to go to, eg a Baumarkt is a hardware store, and then trying to describe in broken incompetent German what I was looking for and/or hoped to buy)… for example, it took me several hours over the course of two days to figure out what a bicylce headlight is called…
    Glad you had fun in Berlin. So far as the arts and literature and language and just interesting thinking, the Germans are very fun to live with… and fun to discuss with and complain with… so far as understanding and following all their many and intricate rules, whenever I complain they always reply “Well, yes, we hate that rule, too, but… [long detailed overly-complex explanation about how it saves fuel, protects children, etc]..”
    All the best,
    Bob Thomas

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