• Nadine Almer

A Decade's Worth of Reflection

Dear 23 year old Self


Happy Birthday!

To us.

We are, what you would call, very old now- congratulations! You made it to an age that you have never even thought about. And what a decade it has been, hasn't it?

Who am I telling this, you know it, we know it.

But we have changed, so now, we are enjoying reflection and self development.

Therefore, stay with me on this one, it is a healing experience, it shall serve us as putting in perspective where we started out 10 years ago.

When we started out on our quest to find a home for our heart.

I can only recollect so little remembrance of us being 23 years old though. It was before Instagram, before we tried to capture every moment with the camera on our phone.

I know that you are now living in Vienna, in an apartment that is rented out to you for a minimal amount because your parents are friends with the owner, a San Marines woman. I can recollect that we are studying Art and Technical Design, we are working on Saturdays at Pimkie, a fashion retail store, and we are for the first time ever somewhat solely responsible for ourself. So much for the external, materialistic things I remember. What saddens me most of all though is, indeed, knowing how much you are hurting and how much more pain we both have hidden deep down in our subconscious mind. We are not going to school for weeks on end because we feel so depressed and overwhelmed with the bruises on our soul. So much so that we even start to hurt ourselves, to see if we can reconnect to anything that is real outside of our head. We eat unhealthy and switch between eating too much or nothing at all in order to fit a societal image of beauty, a number on a scale. We feel so enormously alone in this world and yet on the outside our MySpace page says differently. We do not share our sadness, we do not share our troubles, we do not share our struggles because we fear we will be even less loved once we admit that we do not love ourself. Oh my dear, 23 year old self, oh how I wish I could help you and at the same time, how grateful I am, endlessly grateful, that your strength brought us through all of it. It is because of your strength, your ongoing determination to evolve and not give in, that we survived and did not give in to our suicidal thoughts, it is because of you that we are still here on this Earth, it is because of you that we are still on a journey of healing right now. So believe me when I shoutout to you, back into the past, as loud as I can, to reassure you: You are good enough.


But not so fast. Step by step, there is so much I would like you to know, I would like to share with you!

I know that this winter probably was one of the hardest mental challenges so far. You have been fallen victim to a catfish who brought you to the edge of everything bearable. You nearly committed suicide twice in order to just stop the pain from bringing you to your knees. You nearly threw all your precautions out the window and sent nude pictures to a total stranger who did not care for your wellbeing, you were so eager to feel loved and appreciated and rescued from the emptiness and void that was our life, is your life back then. You thought your friendships in Berlin with Claudia and Hisa were strong but in the time of your biggest need you did not reach out because in the end you always think you are alone. You have skipped classes three weeks in a row and you doubted that you would be able to achieve your finals this summer, due to a lack of intelligence. You build your walls so high and so strong that no one could reach out a hand, not even we could feel ourself anymore, other than the times we cut ourselves. And you were committed to playing a role of happiness and success in order to function as a normal human being within this society. Everyone else seemed to get along just fine, why couldn’t you do that as well, right?!


Then you met someone and out of the dark grey of your world, he let colour into it again. Wasn’t it like love at first sight, the euphoria of writing with him, talking to him, video chatting with him. And all of a sudden destiny summoned you to a decision. Come summer, we were in a spiral upwards towards a new goal, something we knew we had to achieve and everything fell into place. Can you imagine how from that dark place of nothingness, numbness, a wish to die, all of a sudden we thrived, lived with full intensity and succeeded in finishing our studies and bringing up the courage to leave our home country behind, quit our job and move to Switzerland. And what a welcome we were lucky enough to have. How much support, how much love, how much new opportunities to create a life together with the “One” lay ahead.

I am afraid though, my younger loved self, he will not be this One after all, and the breakup will be inevitable. You will see that, the deeper you get to healing yourself, the less you will have in common with him, more even, the less he will be there for you, understand you or even try to support you. The family that welcomed you warmly and helped you settle in this foreign land, will not have an ounce of understanding during your first breakdown, your first burnout and you will be medicated to the brink of feeling nothing, and numbness will take hold of us once more. The expectations of fitting in, carrying on with work as though there was nothing wrong, will eat away at your very being, your core. You will burst again after only just having repaired the damage from before your move here., we will have to start from scratch. Only three years in and your engagement to this man will mean nothing to him or you, for that matter. The numbness will not be taken away with support and love from him, it will be taken away, momentarily, because of the support and love of his best friend. Before long though we will have to face a hard truth- we are the only ones that can take the numbness, not-enoughness, and turn it into a magical transformation of healing.

And my dearest younger self, although all the odds are against this new spark within you, sparked by the childhood best friend of your current fiancé, there will be nothing you or he can do about it. You will after fighting against growing feelings, breaking contact and avoiding each other for weeks, end up together either way. And again, destiny interferes with your life so strongly that you will be unable to fight it, so intensely that in hindsight, fighting against it will seem senseless to begin with. The trouble caused a total diversion within this small universe of friends and friends of friends, it will divide a group of people, it will devour years of trust and it will demand growing from every party involved, either against their will or in agreement with it. You yourself will find yourself be called a whore, mistreated as though everyone else knew the essence of what was happening. Years and years later, still, you will feel the impact this huge development of things had on you. Even now while writing this, you will not completely have overcome all the emotions that were involved, all the prejudice you have experienced.

But know this- it is one of the most profound things and one of the most important one’s that will matter and echo into your future. It is so absolutely necessary to experience it. All of the prejudice, all of the feelings stirred up will have their purpose. You will be challenged to the depth of your being with the love of your life, and he truly will be the love of your life. You will not be together for eternity, but the eternity you spend together will have an impact that will give you your freedom back. It will ignite a sense of self you have never thought existed, your right of being who you are, finding your truth, your authenticity and probably the most valuable lesson of it all, it will bring back your lost trust in people. For he is the most kind and loving man, he will take care of you and even though you will doubt it through most of your relationship with him, he will love you and he will see the beauty within you, that you are years away from being able to see for yourself.

I wish I could send back a bottled message to you and share the lessons I have learned, but it would be counterproductive wouldn’t it?! I only learned these lessons because you went through them, for us and our development.

You will learn that you have been living a farce, an expected wheel of consumerism that is hurting both yourself as well as our Mama Earth. You will learn about nutrition, about sustainability, you will once more break down with a burnout because you never had the chance to heal from your first one. But this time you will be supported two hundred percent by your partner and true, loyal friends, they all will have your back, stay with you, act as your unshakable support system.

You will go through it, you will find slowly and steadily into spirituality, into volunteer work, you will have trials and errors, you will be triggered and challenged, mostly by your own mind and arising trauma carved into your soul and saved in your subconsciousness. With all of it though, you will come to experience one of the core aspects of what makes you happy: Self-development. Your desire for more growth, more authenticity, more truth will eventually lead to the end of your relationship. This time it will be the end of a partnership but at the same time the beginning of building a friendship. He still is the love of your life, but with the profound new understanding that this love exists on a soul level, rather than a linear, pretentious, superficial understanding of a relationship.


Shall I tell you were we are now? Would you believe it?

We are in Ireland right now, we have been travelling since January. We have been to England and Scotland so far and we are planning to travel the world.

And do you know who the love of our love is now? It is Marjorie, our nine year old mixed stray dog from Romania. She has been with us since October 2018 and to say the least, she has saved our life so many times, she has challenged us to grow further and look very carefully at our flaws and edges.

We are travelling because through our understanding of sustainability came a desire to adjust our life to the principles of SLOW living and simplicity, our most precious truth, as much as possible. For us the only way of living is in alignment with Mama Earth. All of it can be, and will be achieved within an intentional community. Multi generational, multi facetted people in an environment where self-sufficiency, living off what the land provides, is key. We have aspirations, like a food forest and permaculture oriented polytunnels, where off-grid can be realised by the resources the land we live on has to offer. We minimised our possessions to one backpack with 103 things in it, as we were drawn to the main ideas of minimalism in order to experience absolute freedom. We travel and visit people in Britain and Ireland to gather knowledge about everything that we need to be able to build and found our intentional community on a coast in Scotland. We have big dreams and we know we can manifest them, can you believe it? Can you believe how deep we are able to believe in ourself now?

Through all the trauma, all the therapy, all the failed relationships, friendships, hardships, all that life has given us, through all of this, we have had the chance to grow so much that we are courageous, brave, kind, loving and honest.

Bare with me, beloved younger self, when I tell you that all is worth it, more even, all is worth it a thousand times. We may still have hardships, we still have an ambivalent relationship to our body image at times and we still binge eat to fill a yet unknown whole when we feel unprotected and dislocated from our core, we still work on our sugar addiction- BUT we work. We work every day, relentlessly because we trust in ourself now, we belief in our self, we began to love, cherish and respect ourself.

We have found confidence in us, so much so that we share our struggles now online. We have a website where we publish our photographs and blog articles, we even have a YouTube channel and recorded our first seven Vlogs. We want to be of service to others, we want to share our struggles in order to be of service. We learned that our scars may be of help for others, support others that experience similar depths of despair and hardships.

It is such a humbling experience! And can you believe that while we are still looking for a place for our heart, we now rest assured that there is one out there and that we will actually find it! Can you believe that? We enjoy life, we like to get up in the morning, we discovered the true meaning of discipline as a form of self-love, unravelled our own dogmatic, destructible way of perfectionism and being liked at all costs. We value our commitment to our mental and spiritual growth. We committed to writing every day since the first of November last year, 2020, we committed to our Yoga and Meditation practices every day since our last birthday, 2020, and we kept these promises. We make ourself proud and we currently attend three online courses as well. “Yoga” is still in the making, but we accomplished and finished “Coaching” and “Blogging, Vlogging and Social Media Marketing” so far. Oh, and we have plans to gather more knowledge in a variety of subjects that make us jump with excitement, like creative writing, videography and photography.

Isn’t all of this just so incredibly exhilarating? Writing this, even I am astounded, I cannot imagine what you might think of it other than pure disbelief. Nonetheless if I could, I would want to reassure you. Life is good, our struggle has a reason. Everything becomes reality, all of your wishes and even wishes you would not even bring up the courage to utter, even those well hidden down in our subconscious mind or those you might not yet be able to conceive.

Be brave, hold on, you are indeed doing a wonderful, amazing job!

With this, I want to thank you, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my spirit and all energies surrounding us: Thank You!

It is because of your strength that we discovered our love for people, our love for all life, our love for Mama Earth and most importantly, to begin with, the love for our Self.

Thank You!


With all our heart, soul and love

Nadine



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