Somebody To Cry For

The weirdest memory I have isn’t even that weird. The weird thing about it isn’t the memory itself. The weird thing about it is why I have it. Or, why I still have it.

I’m eleven years old. I’m sitting in the back seat of my parents’ Toyota Carina. I remember reading the Toyota logo in the window, forwards and backwards. I didn’t know what a palindrome was back then, (I didn’t know the word “palindrome”, in any case) but if I did, I probably would’ve concluded to myself a couple of times that “Toyota” wasn’t one. Every time we drove somewhere in that car, I would try to force the word “Toyota” to be a palindrome, as if reading it enough times would make the “a” at the end go away. It never did, though.

Anyway, back to the memory. We’re on our way home from somewhere. I actually don’t remember from where or what, but I remember the road we’re driving on. It’s a long straight road with small fields and forests on either side. A single tree here and there, looking as if trying to get away from the forest and stretch itself on the open fields. Probably a lot less competition for sunlight out in the fields. If you take a turn from the long straight road, you’ll end up at one of my friends’ house. They have a big farm with an entire forest surrounding it. I probably remember it being bigger than it actually is, we used to play a lot in the forest and on their farm.

Right, sorry - back to the memory. It’s a sunny day. Not a particularly warm day, but then again, sunny days in Denmark is not necessarily a promise of a hot day. It usually just means clear skies, which is also nice. The long straight road leads to the town where I grew up, the town where my parents live. But as of this moment, this memory, if we freeze time right here, I’m eleven years old, - probably almost exactly - and I’m in the back seat of my parents’ Toyota Carina, trying once again to make a palindrome out of “Toyota”. Like I said, it’s not really a weird moment or a weird memory per se. It’s actually excruciatingly ordinary. Very plain and boring, if you ask me. I wish I had such specific memories of wilder moments of my childhood, but this one keeps coming back to me - because I decided that it would.

At that moment, for no reason whatsoever, I decided that I would freeze this moment and store it in my mind - I’d never forget it. Like I was saving a file onto my own hard drive. I simply took a screen shot of my life. And I have no idea why - to see if I could, maybe? Memories fade, and maybe I wanted to see if it was possible to simply decide to keep a memory? Even a memory as ordinary and dull as this one? And here, today, almost ten years later, that exact moment is still clear as day to me. Because for some reason, I just decided to keep a completely random memory with me, so that even if I forget my entire childhood, I’ll still remember that at least I was eleven at one point.

From Here to Where

I wasn’t even that drunk. Not yet, anyway. But something about the idea intrigued me even more than it scared me. I mean, dancing is fun, so what the hell.

I’m at a bar in Brussels, Belgium, meeting up with a bit of the Couchsurfing community in the city, tagging along with my host. We strike up a conversation with a German girl, have a few beers and end up deciding that the dance floor is far too empty. I never dance, not without at least a dozen beers in me and, like, six or seven bottles of rum. Because I don’t want to make a fool of myself, don’t want to be laughed at, don’t want to be awkward. But that night we just said “fuck it - let’s dance.”

It wasn’t exactly a turning point in any of our lives, I think - after all, we did get drunk - well, sort of, anyway - and had a fun night, all of us. But I know that I had to overcome something to get out there and dance like a complete tool - jumping on the spot, arms to the side like an airplane, I mean come on, how is that even dancing? The point is, no matter how stupid I know I looked, I had a great time.

I realize that this is my first post in a really long time. I guess I’m not much of a blogger anymore, and I know by now that I’m probably never gonna write out the full story of my two-month travels around Europe. This here was a small part of it, though, one of the things I learned.

Put yourself out there - if you fail, you’ve only learned something, so there’s rarely anything to lose, really.

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End Credits

More or less in order of appearance. You see, thing is - to those of my followers who don’t have me as a friend on facebook - for the past two months I’ve been traveling around Europe by my 19-year-old self. I will write more on that later, because it’s been an amazing trip, and what kind of blogger would I be, if I didn’t at least write a thing or two about the trip?

For now, though, I’m gonna leave you with this. My trip has been amazing, I’ve learned stuff about myself, about other people, other countries and even a lot about my own country. I feel like I’ve grown at least a bit within the past two months, but I owe it all to all the wonderful people I’ve met along the way. Because traveling alone, you’re never really alone. You always have people around you. So I want to thank every person whose path I’ve crossed in the past two months.

So, thank you, Hannes, Sari, Andrew, Samal, Daniel, Gyða, Adam, Robert, the Canadian guy whose name I will never be able to spell, the Italian guy and his friend, Grace, Gabriel, Marco, the bachelor who celebrated his bachelor party in Edinburgh, all his friends, Martin, Lena, the old man in Glasgow who ran with me, so I could catch my bus, Basel, Max, Madeline, (if that’s even how it’s spelled) Sylvain, Laurane and her parents, Nikko, Daisy, Thomas, that guy whose name I can’t spell, Willem, the other Martin, the entire staff of the Flying Pig Beach Hostel, the other Daniel and lastly, Aron, if that’s even how it’s spelled. I don’t know.

Most likely, I’ve even managed to forget someone who deserves a mention, sorry about that. There are many others, people I’ve met in the passing, people who have impressed me briefly, and some people deserve way more than just a mention here. But for now, this is all I have to say. I’ll have more, but for now - thank you, all of you, for making sure that I never felt alone, not once, in these past two months, while I was off on my own to see the world. Thank you for taking me into your homes, some of you, thank you for taking time out of your lives to show a kid from Denmark around, to make him feel welcomed. Thank you for teaching me, thank you for making me feel connected to the world. Thank you all.

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The Day Our Lives Conquered Insignificance and Monotony

Everything went by us in a flash in an amazing high that clouded our minds, made us euphoric, made us forget time and place. Speeding down victory lane at 200 MPH, we forgot our mortality and conquered the world.

And it was awesome. Brief, sure, but awesome as fuck.

Then the mist cleared, and we realized that we had a long way to trek down from the mountain we had just climbed, and that there was no way to do that at 200 MPH. We had to slow down to safely make it all the way back down to rock bottom, where we can be found scraping rocks, eagerly awaiting the day when we’ll climb our next big mountain, partly fearing, partly hoping - small part believing - that it will be even greater than the last. Because the challenge may seem discouraging at first, but we know this now. We know that the view from the top of a mountain is worth every drop of sweat spent on the trek.

We live for those views, those euphoric flashes of victory.

We live to conquer the world, even if it means scraping rocks and dragging your exhausted soul along the gray concrete of routine and monotony for a while. Our victories may be momentary, but so are our defeats. And our victories are worth it.

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Raise a Little Hell

For the first time in my life, I’ve discovered that growing up doesn’t have two flying fucks to do with drinking coffee. And for probably the first time in all the time I’ve had this blog, am I going to get straight to the point. I actually already did. Not that that’s gonna stop me from elaborating it just a little bit more.

My last post was about me being afraid of growing up too fast and too gray. In a sense, I still am. I mean, I don’t want to end up boring and gray, but why on Earth I ever imagined that to happen automatically as you grow up, I can’t figure out for the life of me. I know myself to a fairly reasonable extent, and I’m confident that I will maintain some kind of immortality of the child’s imagination. If anything, the mere fact that I hope for it counts for something - doesn’t it? What I mean to say is, I’m not particularly scared as such that I’ll end up too gray and with no memory of being young and having the world surrender at your feet. I sure as fuck don’t want it to happen, but I’m not too scared of it, you know?

But that’s only the beginning of an epiphany, isn’t it? It’s only a lock to a key, so to speak. It’s kind of like only getting the first switch triggered in Lt. Surge’s Gym. (Sorry, if you’ve never played Pokémon, that one went woosh right past you) 

The second trigger is of course something along the lines of “but Robin, if you’ve come to realize what growing up does not mean… What the hell does it mean?” And I cannot believe how simple this is. It can only be one thing, right?

Responsibility.

This is probably just me growing up, after all. And maybe it isn’t half bad. I probably do need to man the fuck up and take responsibility for my own actions and for my own life. I probably do need to direct this shit myself, to steer everything in the direction I want it to go. Because no one else is going to do it for me.

It’s not me against the world, it’s just me against myself. 

Masquerading as a Man

I’ve got a legitimate job, I follow sports (if only vaguely and half-ass interested), I drink coffee, I read newspapers, I’m in a serious relationship, I check my three different bank accounts from my computer at home, staring into my 32” LCD screen which is connected to my cable connection, my computer and my Xbox.

At only 18, going on 19 years old, I’m starting to grow up way faster than I ever intended. I’m searching my soul for every childish aspect to add to the plus side that is that I’m not entirely grown up, that I haven’t lost every aspect of the immortality of a child’s imagination. I still love playing Pokémon, I love listening to, creating, playing music, but above all, I think, I love to - simplest put - create.

I’ve actually pondered this for a while. One of the most important things in my life is music - the ability to create images, worlds and emotions through sound. It’s… Terrifying. And I mean that in the good-way-“terrifying”. Another example I noticed is that most of the video games that got my attention were games where you had some kind of ability to create. If nothing else, at least the ability to create your own story. Minecraft had me at hello. I also enjoy drawing. I’m no Da Vinci, but I enjoy scribbling images straight from my mind.

What I’m getting at is that, whether I like it or not, I’m probably growing up, which probably isn’t half bad. I just hope I manage to keep that creative spirit alive, so I’ll at least still hold some aspect of the child’s mind within me.

I guess I’m just afraid to grow up too fast and too gray.

Violins and Thunder

A good six or seven years back, I bought my first electric guitar. White body, white pickguard, three single coil pickups, bright wooden neck of whatever material (it even has a usb port, which is kinda weird, but all fun and games) and of the unknownest of unknown brands - Behringer.

Sure, it wasn’t a Fender or a Gibson or whatever else I’d liked, but goddammit, if I don’t still love it to this day. Not because it by any means is a particularly good guitar, because - well - it isn’t, really. But I’ve had it for a long time, and boy, does that show. I’ve scratched “PUNK” with a key on the lower part of its body, it’s got scratches from sometime years ago, when I was hurrying to some gig, and I didn’t have a gigbag, and I dropped it on the concrete. There’s an old AC/DC sticker on it, which I have to admit has probably been sitting there for an unhealthily long time, I think it might have grown to become symbiont with the guitar itself.

My electric guitar is far from perfect. It’s got scratches and bruises, but that’s only half the imperfections. I’m far from a perfect musician. I don’t practice enough, I’m no more fancy than bluesy rock solos and simple riffs - but it all adds to the point I’m getting at. However much perfection I lack, and however much perfection my guitar lacks, I still manage to throw myself out of this world, when I rock this basement teenage area to the best of my ability. That is, along with my imperfect amplifier and imperfect distortion pedal.

What I’m trying to say is that perfection is overrated. Hell, I’d even say perfection is a sick and absurd ideal. Imperfections, scratches, errors, they all add to the - what’s the popular term - spice of life?

I’m out. 

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Within the Next Week

Coming to terms with what you believe in is not something you sit down and decide you’re gonna do over the course of fifteen minutes or even an afternoon. To firmly believe in something is to see it as the only possibility. It’s not something you choose as such. You don’t just randomly decide that now you believe in something. Beliefs are more complex. And coming to terms with one is interesting. How do people come to terms with what to believe in? And what exactly do I mean by “believing in something”?

Well, simplest put, obviously, believing in something is to believe in the existence of something. According to my favorite website, when looking up definitions, ninjawords.com, a belief is defined as a - and I quote - mental acceptance of a claim as truth regardless of supporting empirical evidence.

Now, of course, you can fool yourself into simply “choosing” a belief. But a true mental acceptance of a universal truth is - in my most modest opinion - a pretty darn huge thing. Which is why I’ve chosen to believe in the fact that I don’t have a goddamn clue. Sure, I think I have some ideas which are plausible at best. But what I know for sure is that I’m completely lost. Which is, of course, just another way of quoting Socrates, when he said “I know that I know nothing”. 

Baudelaire in Braille

Like, if you care, scroll on, if you have no heart.

This showed up on my facebook news-feed the other day, accompanied by a picture of a starving African child from what we like to call “the third world”.

I’ll have to be frank. I got a little upset. What the flying fuck is me liking that picture going to do for that poor child? It’s sad, it really is, that people are starving and dying. There are a lot of cruel and unjust things going on in the world, but I can’t right them all by myself, and I’m especially not doing anything for anyone by liking a picture on facebook. But that’s okay, because that’s not the important part, right?

It’s not even about helping anymore, is it? It’s not even about caring for anybody. It’s about ourselves and our dirty, dirty conscience. We’re living easy, and we don’t like challenges too great. Still, we wouldn’t want to live with a bad conscience. We want to feel that we’ve helped someone, that we are making the world a better place. Even if we’re not. So, sharing a video or liking a picture becomes an easy way for us to clear that conscience, to make us feel like good people again.

It requires little sweat to browse around, surfing the grand interwebs, getting a little emotional and making a little uproar from behind your screen.

And I sympathize, I really do. It’s easy, and I’m not going to blame anyone for turning to apathy. But it’s sad. It’s even sadder than the pictures we share and like, because we care and because we are so good and kind-hearted. It’s sad that we don’t really want to help, we just want to feel good about ourselves. And the easier we can accomplish this, the better. I mean, why bother? 

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Easy on the Heart

This took me a while. Mostly because I want to forget the reality of it all. I want to keep out how close this is to life, how it reminds me of something I never really knew before. The frailty of life.

It’s not something you can prepare yourself for. I used to think I was so rational and had my mind made up in clear realization of how the world worked, how life worked. I used to think I was so goddamn wise. No, I really did. But in the end, the empty words and refrigerator magnets we so desperately repeat in unison, they finally make sense. At the end of the day, you truly and finally realize the gravity of it - that nothing really matters. It sears through your every vein, the pointlessness of everything. You feel the stupidity of existence in your very bones, and an infuriatingly depressing force keeps your soul at a distance, as you slowly realize what you’ve always preached.

And then it overwhelms you. The reality of it all hits you like a tidal wave, and when there is nothing left but tear-stained beaches, you feel evermore pointless in being.  At least that was my experience.

You know what, fuck this. 

This is all I’m going to write for tonight. Take care.

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