Finding myself in Leipzig (without knowing I was lost)


It’s been two years now since I moved back to Spain. I have been trying to write about my experiences living in Leipzig for a few months now, and completely failed. I felt as if there were no words inside of me, none that I could give to this city where I lived for almost a year. None that I could give to anything else, really.

There were simply no words.

After spending my whole life dreaming of becoming a published writer, of wishing to touch people’s lives the same way that all the books I’ve read changed mine. After writing countless paragraphs and poems and even a few messy short stories about all my problems and misfortunes. I had no words. I haven’t had any words for a while. For two years, to be precise.
Völkerschlachtdenkmal. Photo by Christoph Müller, public domain.

Until a few days ago, I could barely fill one page with all the words I’d written since I moved to Leipzig. For two years I’ve been carrying around this weight, this guilty feeling of having betrayed the person I used to be. I have also been wondering why it happened, why I changed. What was it that turned me into an entirely different person? To be completely honest, I think the answer was always right there, but I just couldn’t bear acknowledging it.

When I lived in Leipzig, I was truly and sincerely happy for the first time in my life.

I had amazing friends and crazy adventures. I laughed more than I ever thought was possible without choking to death. Every day I woke up with a smile and a slight hangover in a bed with a frame that was completely broken. With most of my body on the floor and only my head in the right place, terrible back pains would follow all day.

I’d wake up and get ready to do it all over again: lunches in Mensa, pretending to work out at the gym, snowball fights or walks in whichever park was closest. Random trips, last-hour shopping, nights in Jet or 4rooms or C4 or Noches Latinas or Elsterartig or massive movie nights in our bedrooms.

Never in my 21 years had I enjoyed such freedom, or such closeness with people who weren’t relatives or had known me my whole life. We were all so different and still we talked about everything without judgment, with total honesty and liberating trust. We formed a family.
Photo by Paul Kapischka, public domain.

Never had I walked the streets of such a beautiful city before, feeling like I belonged there.

Since I’ve been back, many people have told me that what I miss so desperately is not the city itself, but the friends I made there. Although I wish I still had them all by my side, I am unable to miss people who have never left my life. We talk constantly and still share everything.

No, I miss Leipzig. I miss breakfast in Backwerk and the Bratwurst stands and walking through Marktplatz. Going to Lehmanns and wishing I could read German, so I could spend all my money buying books there.

I miss that feeling I got when we took a walk through that park in Lößnig, or feeling so small every time I went to the Völkerschlachtdenkmal. Going to Nikolaikirche whenever I needed time to myself, to think and light a candle for my loved ones. I miss having a life in Leipzig, and feeling it was the life that I was always supposed to have. Image by Henk Prenger, public domain
Interior of Nikolaikirche. Photo by Henk Prenger, public domain.

In Leipzig, I found that I loved myself as I am and that anything I might not like is in my power to change. And I did. And although I’m not saying that I became perfect in Leipzig, I did reach the best version of myself.

So, after writing for years about everything that was wrong with my life, I had no reason to write anymore.

I didn’t know how to write about all the good things that were going on in my life; I don’t think I even wanted to. I would rather go out and enjoy myself. And that’s what I did.

By Kenzie Rose

Leipzig by Kenzie Rose
Photo by Kenzie Rose, Diana Mini Film Camera
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