A Story by Stefanie Thiele
Hi there, my nameâ€™s T. Well, actually it is Theresa, but no one called me that for ages. I moved to England, you know. And they canâ€™t really pronounce that name here so at some point I grew tired of being called all weird sorts of things, so from then on I just started going by T.
I was born in Berlin but I am half British. My mom is from London and my dadâ€™s from Berlin. My mom met my dad when she was 21 years old, on a class trip. They happened to be at the same art exhibition. She really liked Berlinâ€™s art scene. They married 4 years later and the following spring I was born.
When I was in 2nd grade my Dad was offered a job as a graphic designer in Hamburg. I was sad to go and leave my best friend behind but deep in my heart I felt the curiosity overweigh the fear of new and unfamiliar things. And I have to say I loved Berlin but I adored Hamburg. Berlin was rough and its colours were aggressive. Hamburg with its harbor and hundreds of bridges was just as colourful but in a more subtle way. Despite having lots of friends and being successful with her photography my mom was really home sick all the time. She wouldnâ€™t admit it because she loved my dad so much and knew how much he loved his job. I felt it though. We could tell by the way that she worked.
Then dad got fired and they saw it as a sign to start something new and big and wonderful. So the year I turned thirteen they packed all our stuff including me and my favorite cuddly toy (a bear with a camera in its hand my mom gave me for my first class trip, so I wouldnâ€™t get home sick) and we moved back to London.
Now I am 21 years old myself, and ready to explore the world. Raised by a crazy, passionate photographer and a graphic artist, itâ€™s not surprising that I am arty farty myself. But unlike my mom and dad I am a little undecided about what I want to do. There is just one thing I am completely and utterly sure aboutâ€Ś
I LOVE COLOUR
When starting over in London I didn’t adjust to my new life as well as my parents had expected. I missed Germany. I had to leave so many interesting, loveable and complex souls behind. And it hurt. Here, I didn’t feel the connection. And it didn’t feel worth it to invest time and feelings to make new friends when I had to leave them behind again eventually anyway. And the worst thing was I started to forget. I noticed one afternoon, sitting under a tree scribbling, that I couldn’t quite remember what my Art teacher from Berlin looked like. I just remember she had that crazy orange hair. So I got my orange pencil out and drew furiously, desperately trying to puzzle together her face.
My anxiety about forgetting my past got so bad that I started drawing religiously everything I experienced in a diary like fashion. After living like this for 2 years my teachers suggested to my mom it would benefit me if I had someone to talk to about my fear, as it highly affected my performance at school (and especially the look of my textbooks).
Thatâ€™s how I met my psychotherapist Dr. Chasington. She made me smile. I always thought she looked a bit like a female version of Buddha. Maybe I should have taken the risk and rubbed her tummy for good luck. Maybe things would have turned out differently then. I remember we used to sit on these old rusty folding chairs on her balcony. She would give me a big sheet of paper, which I had to fill with memories by the end of the session. While I drew she drank cup after cup of coffee and smoked quite a bit, too. We kept that as a secret. Oh, how I loved that smell. The smoke sometimes stung my eyes. My vision got a bit blurry then which only intensified the feeling of living in a blur of incoherent memories.
These afternoons of not so much talking and still saying so much went on until I turned 17. I remember every angle, of every roof, of every house that you were able to see from that balcony up to the themes and beyond. I am not quite sure what it was about this lady but on our 22nd session she somehow broke threw to me and made me realize that it was okay not to remember. It was okay for memories to fade and eventually get lost. As long as I didnâ€™t lose myself.
Special thanks to Toni Endres and Jess Schulz for all their help.