18.1Inhale.
Exhale.
Close my eyes.
Inhale.
Hold on.
Exhale.
Let go.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I hate winter. Always did, always will. This child of the tropics, in spite of growing up with four seasons, needs sunshine and warmth to thrive, both of which are severely missing in Berlin at the moment. As I stared out at the heavy snowfall the other morning (not realising that the scene unfolding before me was already part of Hurricane Friedericke that tore through Germany and The Netherlands), holding my coffee mug in my hands, and carrying on a peculiar conversation with my perplexed cats, it occurred to me that my life is like a prolonged snowfall at the moment.

When it rains, or pours, you get wet but can continue to move on. All you need is an umbrella, a hoodie, the right shoes, and a bit of a faster stride. But you can see where you are going. I can’t speak for others, but when it rains, I always get the feeling that the air is clearing up, a natural way of expelling the suffocating air, a physical cleansing that reaches into the soul and touches all your senses. Rain is invigorating, and a storm can be inspiring on so many levels, just ask musicians and photographers.

In a snowstorm, on the other hand, I lose perspective, sense of direction, and my stride. You have to walk differently in snow, need heavier clothing, but worst of all, if it is coming down heavily, you can’t see anything clearly. Whereas rain clarifies matters, snow changes the entire landscape, even if it is temporary, but nothing looks the same afterwards and an overwhelming sense of barrenness always comes over me.

I am stuck in the middle of my own personal snow storm with the wrong shoes, having lost my sense of direction, and nothing looks or feels familiar. I’m afraid of slipping and losing my footing, and the cold has paralysed me, leaving me with no safety net. I feel cold, a coldness that comes from a hollow emptiness and the absence of warmth.