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[As I go through massive change in my life at the moment, I am reminded of those other moments of massive change in my life, when I left NYC for Berlin, and then when I left Berlin for LA. I’m revisiting those changes partly out of nostalgia and partly as a way to feel more grounded and complete now. As part of that process, I am sharing some entries from my diary as I remind myself of what that time felt like.]

Saturday, October 04, 2003

DECISION: Berlin is the right move for me right now — it would be ridiculous to fight it — and lord knows, I have no idea how to find a place for myself in New York right now anyway.

But I do feel like I’m teetering at the edge of a big chasm and WHOA it’s deep down there, and I think OH MY GOD WHAT AM I DOING. It all happened so fast, but, after all, what else could I be doing? I love that city. I love the people in it.

I’m just craving some stability right now — just a teeny bit — and I miss my friends. I’ve been spending too much time alone in my head. I want to be with someone that knows me.  I’m tired of explaining who I am.  I’m tired of trying to remember.

And so I eat to try to numb the edge — eat & watch TV.

Back in Israel, as of yesterday afternoon, and bleary-eyed by lack of sleep. Everything in my life is changing drastically.

I had an interesting conversation with my friend Sean today, and one of the topics was my general insecurity about my musical talents. Basically, he said that I have to stop comparing myself to other people and I have to start comparing myself to myself — I have to figure out what I want to sound like and stop beating myself up because I don’t sound like everyone else.

Sean sent me this brilliant letter that I’ve read and re-read about ninety times today. Sometimes I really just need to be told which way is up, because I get so caught up in my head that I forget.

An excerpt: 

“…here’s my advice, which is harsh: Please, please, please keep reminding yourself that the way you feel is NORMAL and EXPECTED. After all, you’ve given up EVERYTHING, you’re living in a TRANSITIONAL city with your MOTHER, and you’re about to return to your NEW life as an ARTIST, PERSONALITY, and PERFORMER. Were you expecting it to be FUN? Were you expecting it to be EASY? Wake UP! You’re not doing this to ENJOY yourself. You’re doing this to satisfy a CALLING. Discomfort is part of the deal. You should consider yourself lucky that you’re not SUICIDAL.

You have to learn to stop agonizing over your feelings. Just accept them for what they are, stop wishing things to be different, and go on with your day and do what you need to do. So you’re sad and lonely. So WHAT? Get OVER it. Work THROUGH it. Because you have a RIGHT to feel the way you feel, but your BRAIN also has the right to tell your HEART to stop bitching! Your brain has the RIGHT to say:

‘Alright, I’m feeling blue, but it’s because I’m doing the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and my survival mechanisms are telling me to seek comfort, but I don’t want comfort. I want success! So I’ll RESPECT and UNDERSTAND my feelings, but I’ll acknowledge them as TEMPORARY! I’ll DEFY my survival instincts in favor of my creative instincts! And knowledge of what motivates me (and what scares me) will liberate me to push forward with clarity and purpose! I’ll make it a GOAL that I’ll WORK for — not a HOPE that I’ll WISH for — to feel better. Because it’s not worth having if you don’t EARN it. And I won’t expect it anytime soon!

And also consider this a lesson learned: Whereas you may be very fond of saying there’s nothing for you in New York, the TRUTH is that you have COMFORT and CONVENIENCE and CONTROL there. Does that mean Berlin isn’t good for you? No. Of course not. You need change and stimulation and all of that. But learn to stop rejecting things in such black-and-white terms. Accept the nuances of your situation, and your emotions, and you won’t always feel pinned against a wall when you have a moment of doubt. It’s like I tell you about your own sexuality. When you have a bad experience with a girl, you say, Oh, I like boys now. And vice versa. But it’s not the truth. It’s just a reaction. Stop doing it! It’s very self-destructive! And it prevents you from seeing yourself and your world the way it really is. Which causes you to fall into patterns that ultimately make you unhappy and dissatisfied…”

I really need a sound spanking, and I need an iron constitution. I feel like I’m being a sniveling baby.

Work, goals, and an iron constitution.  Focus on that.  Not on the loneliness and the fear.  If I distract myself with my work, maybe I’ll be able to ignore everything else.

I need to finish with New York. I need to get to Berlin. 

Saturday, October 11, 2003

I’m in New York. I’m in New York but not as a New Yorker — as a former New Yorker, as a visitor, as a person in flux, in transition — neither here nor there but just passing through. It’s a curious feeling. It’s a curious feeling to be in the same places where i’ve been so many times before and see them through the eyes of an outsider. It’s a curious feeling to get out of the F train at Second Avenue and feel temporarily disoriented. Five years — and it doesn’t feel like it was ever home. It feels like i passed through here, once, in a dream.

I have also felt curiously alone. Partly because my days have been to myself, as i pack and get organized, but partly because wonderful as it is to discover which friends really want to make the effort to see me, it makes it all the more acute which ones don’t…which ones really go all the way and which ones are sort of ambivalent about it all.

And part of me just feels kind of numb, turned off to the enormity of what i’m doing — and the other part can’t quite sleep at night because the energy of what i have to do is coursing through my veins.

I’m moving. I’m leaving. In my head, i’m already gone…but i haven’t arrived anywhere yet. I don’t feel home.

Packing up my apartment today made me think of who i was when i moved in. I feel so distant from that person, and sort of sad to not be able to be that person again. I feel like i failed. New York failed. I’m leaving New York because I couldn’t achieve the kind of success I wanted. Because I couldn’t find the people I wanted. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Maybe they aren’t here. Maybe I’m upgrading. Maybe i’m making a strategic career move. Who knows. All i know is that my life is in boxes, and half of it has been purged to lie with the trash.