I recently attended a winter blues themed writing workshop here in Berlin. As always with this new writer’s community I have been exposed to in this city, I was child-like in excitement, I listened to my careful and deliberately spoken teacher and set my nervousness aside. I’m pleased to tell you that I am realising that writing is something I can trust in. It is, and I am (it appears) not a fluke.
The workshop is small and intimate. An outlet for winter blues and I find myself pensive and present. Our teacher, Candice, asks us to consider the limiting way we express our blues, and questions if by changing the way we write and think about them, we can honour the truth of the feeling, maybe too, we can reclaim the power of these emotions over ourselves.
She asks us to write about a negative emotion we’ve experienced in the last few months, but without naming it. Mine was rejection. I write the following:
Outside the cold is biting at the people, I don’t feel it. I float through them with this cloak that makes me feel numb and invisible. It evolves, following me greedily. Sometimes, tugging at the edges of my heart to orchestrate a cry, other times it lights small fires beneath my cheeks, holding my jaw in a tight lock. My eyes can kill any joy that lives and it feeds me. Then, for some reason there is stillness and it offers me a soft hand that hovers before me. I go to take it without thinking and I am left grasping for it. Suddenly feeling the cold, suddenly realising that the rain is pouring down on me, and my hand is like ice—alone and wet. It smiles.
Then we were asked to bring an object that stirs up negative emotions and write about that time without naming what happened, but instead bringing to life the object. As I am new to the city, I struggled to find an object that I would have afforded space to in my tightly-packed I’m moving-my-life-to-another-country-again bags, but alas, I came across a pair of knickers that got too small for me when I put on weight last year. It’s something I am significantly more at peace with, but at the time its negative influence on my thoughts was as ever present as the lining that stuck to my sides. And so I wrote the following:
Lining like wires. Torture stitching. It is immovable and it wants you to know it will not bend. Purposed for women with still surfaces. It will not bend. It’s so soft though, with a stance so hard. The colours, polarising too. Dark, most certainly, and the layers of flowers fight for space like ivy, and the hot pink is dark like blood. It stings, burning its owner with no remorse. Remorse is an emotion for other types of knickers. The pale ones, with cotton skin, they whisper to you, mimicking the sound of your parents wishing you a good day at school. But not this item. It sticks to bodies. It shrieks up at the people relentlessly. Preying on the lonely, a chorus to the voices in your head. Lose it before sleep, or you will never. It laments you, larger than its physical shape, stiff to your movement. It will not bend. It will not pretend. An ever-present shame.
We then shortened the piece to create a poem, which we then performed (cue my nervousness returning):
A Final Poem
Purposed for women with still surfaces.
Lining like wires. Torture stitching. It is immovable and it wants you to know it will not bend.
It is an ever-present shame.
It sticks to bodies. It shrieks up at the people relentlessly. Lose it before sleep, or you will never.
Layers of flowers fight for space like ivy, and the hot pink is dark like blood.
It stings, burning its owner with no remorse.
I hope you enjoyed reading. I don’t know about you, but I remain quite romantic about the idea that I could one day learn how to trick my mind into not giving into sad thoughts, so this was a step forward for this quest. I found these exercises really practical in creating a voice for my winter blues, and invite you to try the same if you’re looking for an outlet this winter. Lastly, don’t forget to take your vitamin D!
The workshop was free, and facilitated by the writers' collective Poet & Prophetess.
Hi reader. As this may be the first time we are e-meeting like this, I offer a short introduction of the need-to-knows. I am a London-born writer currently living in Berlin. I’m a fan of food, travel and life—and am particularly curious about how love changes people. Nice to meet you! Join me on Instagram if that’s your thing at @kyomiwade.